Survey results from 2,000 high school and college-aged teens, and young adults, across the country shows that a significant portion of students continue to delay decisions on their career choice well into their sophomore year of college. The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research for Junior Achievement USA and The Hartford, is available in a report titled Insuring Career Success: Teen Perceptions of Career Selection.
Survey participants were broken out by grade level; 500 high school juniors, 500 high school seniors, 500 college freshmen, and 500 college sophomores. The research shows how students’ perceptions of career paths change over time. For instance, 44 percent of high school juniors believe a person should have a concrete career path in mind before they finish high school, yet only 16 percent of college sophomores agree. However, when asked if a person should have a concrete career goal after starting college but before graduating, 46 percent of college sophomores agreed while only 16 percent of high school juniors felt the same way.
“What this research indicates is that many young people are entering college without a clear idea of what their career goals are,” said Jack Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “This is especially concerning given the amount of cost involved in going to college and the fact many Americans never end up working in careers related to their college degree.”
Research by CareerBuilder finds that as many as a third of college graduates do not work in a job related to their college major.
Other findings from the Junior Achievement USA and The Hartford survey include:
- When it comes to career satisfaction for their career path, two-thirds of respondents in all four groups (64%) said that “enjoying it” was their top priority, as opposed to “being good at it” (29%).
- In terms of factors influencing their career decisions, most respondents in all four groups (80%) said they would prefer “advice from professionals who work in a chosen field,” compared to “advice from parents or other family members” (75%), “advice from academic counselors or advisors” (67%), “information from TV, social media or online” (41%), or “advice from friends” (38%).