What American Teens Want to Be When They Grow Up
Jim LiebeltJim Liebelt's Blog
- 2017 Apr 18
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MarketWatch.
Teenagers dream big.
Few people in this age group want to punch a time clock or sit at a desk for eight hours a day, even though 15% of Americans have office/administrative jobs, which make up the largest of 22 segments of the U.S. labor force, according to a survey released this week by Chicago-based market research company C+R and an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But 20%, the largest percentage of teens surveyed, want to be an athlete, artist or entertainer.
Out of 400 teens surveyed, none wanted an office/administrative job. What’s more, only 1% wanted to work in sales, farming and fisheries, and only 2% wanted to be a manager, chief executive or politician, or marketing/public relations executive. Another 2% wanted to work in personal care and service occupations (including child care, hairdressers and personal trainers) or business and financial jobs (including human resources and accountancy).
Other popular dream jobs are in health care. Some 15% of respondents say they’d like a job as a doctor, nurse, veterinarian, pharmacist and/or dentist. The researchers said these are considered noble, prestigious and, yes, high-earning occupations. However, the rigor, length and expense of additional schooling are some of the biggest deterrents to why only 6% of people who want to become a health-care practitioner actually do, the report added.
Teens may be influenced by the lifestyles of social media stars. Some 95% of teenagers are online compared with around 80% of the overall population, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In theory, that should make it easier for parents to keep up with them and track their behavior. But teens are light on their feet, and a swath of research suggests that teens are quietly fleeing mainstream social sites that have been adopted by their parents.
“Most kids aren’t thinking about trade jobs,” says Sharalyn Hartwell, principal and owner of Hartwell Communications, a marketing strategy firm in San Francisco, which studies teenage demographics and millennials. “That’s exacerbated by social media culture. They see people, sometimes their own peers, who are making a ton of money making videos. When they start looking at the realities of life, they will find those jobs and contribute to society as they always have.”