The world's largest school performance survey, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, on Wednesday released a report on ‘Dream Jobs? Teenagers' Career Aspirations and the Future of Work”, based on responses from half a million young people, including Portuguese nationals.
The OECD report compares data from 2018 with information gathered at the turn of the century and reveals that the focus on the same professions has been increasing.
In the 18 years of the century so far, ever more girls and boys are choosing the same options. The list is limited to just 10 areas for 53% of girls and 47% of boys, according to average data from the 41 countries participating in the 2000 and 2018 surveys.
In Portugal, the rates are still higher: 58% of boys choose the same areas, and 54% of girls.
Across the 41 countries, girls want to follow a profession in healthcare (15.6%), education or business management, while boys focus more on science and engineering, with jobs to do with engineering top (7.7%), followed by business management and health.
The report warns that this concentration on a few jobs could reflect a lack of knowledge of the labour market or of proper careers guidance.
Young people from more disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, as well as those with worse results in the PISA tests, are cited as being most likely to focus on fewer professional options.
Another finding of the report is that the job that young people dream of doing as adults is not compatible with teenagers’ academic qualifications. One in five of the young people chose a profession that does not fit in with their schooling - a problem that is again especially evident among students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The goal of getting an accessible, well-paid job with a future seems to be captivating the imagination of fewer and fewer youngsters: the report find that they are increasingly looking for jobs that are in fact at risk of disappearing, a feature that is more evident in boys and in young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.