The study asked, what job do you expect to be doing at age 30? Of students in Canada in 2018, 58 percent said one of 10 careers, up from 52 percent in 2000.
“A large number of students set high ambitions for themselves from a young age; these students aim to enter somewhat inaccessible occupations,” say the study’s authors. “The top five occupations in both Canada and the United States include occupations such as doctors and lawyers, while many highly accessible professions in similar fields are farther down the list.”
Many of the desired jobs require high levels of education and have limited numbers of positions. They are also very traditional and don’t include new and emerging fields or in-demand jobs, which seems to show a lack of knowledge of the rapidly changing labour market.
For example, in Canada, nurse aides/patient service associate jobs are expected to be #6 in terms of growth, but were #33 in terms of student preference. User support technicians/information systems testing technicians were only #158 in terms of preference, but were #56 in terms of projected growth. On the flip side, aircraft mechanic/inspector/ or railway worker was #15 in terms of preference, but #242 in terms of projected growth.
In Canada, 36 percent of the jobs cited by girls and 39 percent of the jobs cited by boys are at risk of automation in the next 15 years.
The good news is that Canadian students are more realistic about the levels of education needed for professional/managerial roles than the OECD average, with just 6 percent believing they can enter these types of roles without postsecondary education, compared to the OECD average of 20 percent.
It’s clear from this study that parents, teachers, guidance counsellors, and others have a lot of room to improve when it comes to offering career guidance. To set children up for success, they’ll need to think outside of traditional career boxes and promote emerging positions that will be vital to grow the economy and care for citizens.