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Dream jobs: Teenagers’ career aspirations and the future of work

Author: Anthony Mann, Vanessa Denis, Andreas Schleicher, Hamoon Ekhtiari, OECD; Terralynn Forsyth, Elvin Liu, FutureFit AI; and Nick Chambers, Education and Employers

Organisation: OECD

Published: January 2020

Country: New Zealand

Research type: Report

With young people staying in education longer than ever and the labour market automating with unprecedented speed, students need help to make sense of the world of work. In 2018, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the world’s largest dataset on young people’s educational experiences, collected first- of-its kind data on this, making it possible to explore how much the career dreams of young people have changed over the past 20 years, how closely they are related to actual labour demand, and how closely aspirations are shaped by social background and gender.

The data presented in this report build on an OECD/ Education and Employers study launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019. Envisioning the Future looked, in part, at how some 20,000 children in primary schools around the world saw themselves later on, in the world of work. The study found that children’s career interests were highly concentrated among only a few occupations, and were shaped by gender and social background. It appears that over their schooling, young people struggle to develop more informed, more nuanced understandings of the labour market and how they might ultimately engage in it.