from the world's big
Children's career ambitions are lagging behind the new world of work
"Too many teenagers are ignoring or are unaware of new types of jobs that are emerging."
A major new international study highlights the mismatch between young people's career aspirations and jobs, and the impact this will have on the world economy.
The OECD study Dream Jobs? Teenagers' Career Aspirations and the Future of Work is based on the latest PISA survey of 500,000 15-year-olds from 41 countries.
• Young people's career aspirations have remained largely frozen since 2000.
• Gender and social class play a big role in framing their expectations.
• Davos school visits show how these limited preconceptions can be broken.
While the world of work has undergone huge changes since the first PISA survey was carried out in 2000, the results show that the career expectations of young people have shifted little over this period. Surprisingly, they have actually narrowed. Now, more young people than before appear to be picking their dream job from among the most popular, traditional occupations, like teachers, lawyers or doctors. And their choices are heavily influenced by gender and social background.
"Too many teenagers are ignoring or are unaware of new types of jobs that are emerging. The analysis suggests that, in many countries, young people's career aspirations increasingly bear little relation to actual labour market demand," says Andreas Schleicher, OECD's Director of Education and Skills.
There has been a change in career choices since 2000, but not that much. While there was an increase in girls citing "doctor" (15.6%), up from 11% in 2000, they still rated "teacher" with a high 9.4% (11.1% in 2000). "Business manager" moved up in girls' answers from 3% to 5%. For boys, "engineers" increased from 4.9% to 7.7% and "business manager" stayed fairly similar with just a 0.1% decrease; "doctor" is still a favourite across the board and now also in the top three answers with 6%.
There are noticeable differences by gender and background. Among high performers in mathematics or science, boys in the study were much more likely to express an interest in becoming science or engineering professionals than girls. The reverse was true for health-related careers. The most advantaged high performers are more than twice as likely to anticipate having a job at a professional or managerial level as equally able but disadvantaged students. Among high performers, more males than females expect not to complete higher education and do not expect to have a professional or managerial job.
Further, many young people, particularly boys and teenagers from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds, anticipate undertaking jobs that are at a high risk of automation. The degree to which this is true varies by country. In English-speaking and Nordic countries, the risk of automation tends to be lower. Elsewhere, notably in Japan and the Slovak Republic, around half of the jobs that young people anticipate doing are at risk of automation.
And teenagers' career aspirations are similar to those of primary-aged children. The Drawing the Future study asked children aged 7-11 in 20 countries to draw a picture of the job they wanted to do when they grew up. The findings published during the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2018 showed that gender stereotyping is visible from a young age and is a global issue.
Tackling ingrained stereotypes
It is vital that young people don't rule out options because they believe, implicitly or explicitly, that their future career choices are limited by their gender, ethnicity or socio-economic background. Children often base their aspirations on the jobs their parents, friends and neighbours do, and on TV and social media. Young people need to be given the opportunity to meet a wide range of people from the world of work who can help bring learning to life and show them how the subjects they are studying are relevant to their futures. If they don't know what opportunities are out there – if they have never seen a scientist or an engineer, a male nurse or a female firefighter – how can they aspire to such jobs?
For this reason, and to mark the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, the UK-based charity Education and Employers, in partnership with the Swiss NGO MOD-ELLE and with support from Deloitte, organised for 50 participants to visit the Davos primary and secondary schools and meet the students.
In the primary school, the children, aged 9-12, had drawn pictures of the job they wanted to do when they grew up. Delegates went into different classrooms and answered questions from the children about their job and career route. Questions such as "What was your favourite subject at school? What was your first job? What's the most difficult thing about your job? Does your job make a difference to people?" The question and answer sessions all took place in German and for the guests who didn't speak the language, parents, and in some cases, some of the older children acted as translators.
The secondary school event began with the launch of the OECD's Dream Jobs report by Andreas Schleicher. As well as the PISA data, the report, written in collaboration with Education and Employers, featured quotes from young people. For the launch, the Davos students aged 13-15 were asked to write a letter about their views on the future of the world, the issues that matter to them and their own career aspirations. The need to tackle climate change, international conflict and poverty emerged as consistent concerns. Some of their letters can be seen here.
The Forum participants visited classrooms and discussed the letters with students, shared their insights and experience in areas including science, environment, technology and equality, and answered questions about their job and career route.
Research has shown such a simple action of going to visit a school and chat to young people can have a significant impact on their lives. Martin Flütsch, Principal of the Davos schools, said after the visits: "There is no doubt that it will change the future direction of some of our students' lives. It is true that 'You can't be what you can't see' and the visitors helped broaden their horizons, raise their aspirations and challenged ingrained gender stereotypes. They helped get them excited about the subjects they are studying and motivated them to study harder and try their best to achieve their potential."
Every young person, wherever they live, and whatever their ethnic and socio-economic background should have the right to hear first-hand about jobs and the world of work. Who is so busy that they can't spare an hour a year to visit a school and chat with students about their job and career route?
It is the one relatively easy thing we can do to improve the future for our children and create equal opportunities for everybody.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.