Teens want to be business managers and professionals when they grow up

Ivy Swibel and Alex Massey have a long list of possible career options.
Ivy Swibel and Alex Massey have a long list of possible career options. Photo: Brook Mitchell

You may have wanted to be an astronaut or fireman when you grew up, but most children today have their sights set on business management and professional jobs.

Research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies has found that six in 10 teenagers aged 14 to 15, who have made up their minds, want to run their own business, be a banker or stockbroker or work in a profession including law, medicine, vet science, marine biology, teaching or IT.

"I don't think I saw a single astronaut," AFS senior research fellow Jennifer Baxter said.

There weren't any aspiring astronauts, but 11 per cent had their hopes pinned on being a professional footballer, a ...
There weren't any aspiring astronauts, but 11 per cent had their hopes pinned on being a professional footballer, a 'you-tuber' or a technology expert 'apple-genius', actor or ballet dancer. Photo: Choreograph

But 11 per cent had their hopes pinned on being a professional footballer, a "you-tuber" or a technology expert "apple-genius", actor or ballet dancer.

Year 8 students Alex Massey and Ivy Swibel each have "lots" of things they want to do.

The students from St Andrew's Cathedral School in Sydney are turning 14 this year and both want to become fluent in a foreign language and travel overseas.

"I'd really like to visit Germany and learn German," Alex said.

"I want to study law and help people who don't have a voice get justice.

"Being a pilot looks fun and you get to travel around the world and you also help other people travel around the world."

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And it doesn't stop there.

Alex would also like to teach small children in Africa and raise money for charities including the Randwick hospital where he was born.

"I would also like to study business because my mother and others in my family do business."

His love of maths may also lead him to work on the stock exchange.

Ivy would like to study medicine and work with children.

If she does not get the chance to study medicine, she would like to be an actor.

And she would like to work in children's ministry, having had a taste of that work at church.

"I would also like to speak fluently in Spanish and travel around Spain," she said.

Ivy would also like to play netball at a professional level and wants to publish a novel for young adults.

"I would also like to get married and have a family and have a steady income to support my family," she said, adding that she would like to live in the Blue Mountains because it feels like a second home.

Of the 3378 Australian teens surveyed, 35 per cent overall wanted to work in high-skilled areas including business and the professions compared to 8.1 per cent who nominated service jobs including health and welfare support, where future jobs growth is expected. More than 9 per cent said they wanted to work in a technical area or trade.

Almost 60 per cent of the teenagers who said they had decided what they wanted to do, as opposed to those who had not made up their minds, wanted to work in high-skilled professions and business management.

This figure was high in comparison to the 35 per cent of workers currently in professional or managerial jobs.

The study also identified clear gender differences. Boys were more likely to choose professions in engineering, transport or IT. Girls were more likely to choose teaching, legal or social occupations among their top choices.

Dr Baxter said four in 10 teenagers in the study were not sure what jobs they wanted.

"All teens need good information to help them identify the range of jobs that may be suitable to them and the pathway to achieve their aspiration," Dr Baxter said.

"Some may also need help to modify their plans to suit their skills and the nature of the labour market."

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