Teens dream of jobs with no future | News | DW | 22.01.2020
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Teens dream of jobs with no future

Children still want to pursue traditional professions such as doctors, teachers, or police officers, according to a study. However, the authors note that these jobs may not exist in a future with more automation.

The vast majority of 15 year olds in developed countries picture themselves in professions that may have disappeared or radically altered by the time they are 30, an OECD study published on Wednesday has found. 

OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that 47% of boys and 53% of girls from countries in the OECD study, which included Germany, chose one of 10 of the most frequently named professions, such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, business managers, IT professionals, engineers, and police officers.

However, the report noted: "39% of the jobs cited by PISA participants, on average across OECD countries, run the risk of being automated within the next 10 to 15 years."

The report noted that teens in Germany were even more likely than the average, at about 45%, to hope for jobs that will likely become automated in the near future.

The study also found that disadvantaged and lower-performing students were more likely to be ill-informed about their career opportunities, which serves to compound their economic hardships over a lifetime. Longitudinal studies have proven that a "misalignment" of information and goals about the labor market leads to worse job prospects later in life.

Germany follows old gender roles

A graph in the report specifically about Germany showed that the choices made by boys and girls revealed that, by the age of 15, young people were increasingly influenced by gender stereotypes about work roles. 

While jobs such as doctor, police officer, and lawyer featured in the top ten for girls, the list also included roles such as childcare worker, psychologist, nurse, office clerk, and designer. The most popular future profession was teaching.

For boys, the number one choice was IT professional, followed by working with agricultural and industrial machinery. Also on the boys' list were science and engineering professional and professional athlete. None of those four was among the girls' favorites.

PISA also noted that across all of the countries studied, girls were more likely to act on their own to inform themselves about job prospects through research, questionnaires, or speaking to a school counselor, but that boys were more likely to have internships, visit job fairs, and take opportunities to shadow a professional or arrange a work site visit.

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