19th-century career choices see youths risk becoming obsolete

19th-century career choices see youths risk becoming obsolete
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Despite ongoing developments in the digital world, the onset of 3D and the rapid development of AI, the choices in terms of vocational orientation for 15-year-olds in industrialised countries have changed very little in the last twenty years, an OECD report published on Wednesday notes with concern.

Although born in the 21st century, today’s adolescents are still overwhelmingly drawn to 20th, if not at times 19th-century professions.

This risk linked to innovation varies from one country to another but concerns 39% on average of the professions cited by young people from OECD countries (ditto in Belgium).

The survey furthermore shows little change between 2000 and 2018 in the choice of careers young people are considering. Half of these youngsters are focused on just 10 occupations.

With boys, it is the profession of engineer is most often mentioned (7.7% of respondents), ahead of that of the business manager (6.7%) and doctor (6.0%). For the girls, it is medicine that is most popular (15.6% of respondents), ahead of teaching (9.4%) and business management (5.0%).

Another worrying factor brought to light by the survey: one young person in five in the OCDE countries has no clear idea about the studies to undertake in order to turn their professional dreams into reality. And unsurprisingly, it is the youngsters from the most disadvantaged backgrounds who mostly get it wrong with regard to this subject.

In the face of these findings, the report emphases the importance of offering young people the right tools to help guide them in their professional orientation.

It shows in this respect the very strong disparities that exist between countries. And Belgium is here among the worst of the OECD’s pupils.

So, if more than 80% of young Danes get the chance of an interview in their school with a careers guidance councillor, only 25% of young Belgians get the same opportunity.

The Brussels Times

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