What Motivates Canada’s Teenagers?

canada2067 | Parents |

That’s certainly a vital question in today’s world.

Parents and educators need to grasp the attitudes of young people—by understanding how teens think about the future, we can better help them capture tomorrow’s opportunities.

These opportunities are increasingly linked to STEM, and it’s predicted that many in-demand jobs within the next two decades will require STEM learning. These are the jobs that will contribute to Canada’s economic prosperity and innovation.

Earlier this year, we collected responses from 818 youth, aged 13 to 17, and representative of the Canadian teen population.

Even jobs or businesses not typically associated with STEM will require skills like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • General math
  • Science literacy

Thinking about jobs…

Students aren’t drawn to specific jobs, but to a set of interests and values.

  • 84% place a priority on jobs that allow them to make a contribution
  • 79% want to help people
  • 75% want to make decisions
  • 70% want to solve problems
  • While 48% aspire as business owners and 39% as entrepreneurs

Who’s interested in entrepreneurship?

Males: 44%
Females: 35%

But when it comes to wanting a professional job

Females: 67%
Males: 52%

More than 9 in 10 youth are thinking about their career a lot or sometimes.

But how does SCIENCE factor into the equation?

  • 72% say science is fun
  • 34% think it’s boring
  • 70% say they enjoy science in school

And students generally appreciate
 the importance of science!

69% per cent say understanding science is more important today than when their parents were in school.

3/4 of students feel that a science background expands their potential, regardless of what they will do.

Many students also don’t take science because they don’t want to “go into science.” They don’t recognize what STEM can put into their toolbox.

So who’s influencing student academic decisions?

76% say their parents
24% say their teachers

Gender is a factor too when it comes to STEM and career choices:

Male and female students are often drawn to certain STEM sectors, often reinforcing stereotypes (women in science and caring for sick people, men in engineering and skilled trades).

Can women find great satisfaction in a science, technology, engineering or math-related career?

84% said yes. However…
19% of students still feel that careers in engineering and/or technology are best suited to men.

Source: Spotlight on Science Learning: Shaping Tomorrow’s Workforce