American Teens Still Mean Business

For the fourth consecutive year, “Businessperson” has been cited as the most popular career choice for American teens.

hirevue questions of the key findings of an annual survey of teenagers on topics such as career expectations and their opinions about the world of business. The study, the 2006 Junior Achievement Worldwide Interprise Poll on Kids and Careers, also revealed that for the first time in the seven-year history of the survey, salary expectations for young women are on a par with those of young men.

Since first being measured in the 2003 poll, male salary expectations for most jobs have tended to exceed earnings anticipated by female teens. However, in this year’s version, the highest earnings expectations for frequently cited careers, such as business, law, entertainment or medicine, are split fairly evenly between genders.

Over the past four years, the top- 10 career selections have remained fairly constant. “Businessperson” has been the most popular career choice overall for the last four years the poll has been conducted; this year it was selected by 8.7 percent.

“Teacher” was the second-highest selection, chosen by 7 percent, moving past “Doctor,” a consistent first or second choice in previous years, which came in third with 6.2 percent, tied with “computer field.”

Another difference in this year’s responses is that female teens appear to be drawn to careers that require more education, and this year they are more confident than males that they can obtain their ideal careers.

The survey showed that just over three-quarters of young women polled-78.2 percent- said they were “definitely” or “pretty sure” they would obtain their ideal job, compared to just over 65 percent of male teens.

Job shadowing is one way teens form their career expectations. Once again this year, JA Worldwide is sponsoring its yearlong Job Shadow initiative, where students venture into the workplace for a day, hosted by adult mentors who teach them about the “world of work.”

JA Worldwide is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and entrepreneurship. Today, it reaches approximately four million students in the United States, plus more than three million students worldwide.