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National poll: most teens would give up dream job for higher salary

logoAccording to a new national survey of teens, less than half (43 percent) are “very confident” they will someday have their dream job, and a significant majority—71 percent—said they would either give up their dream job for one that paid a higher salary or might consider doing so.

The 2012 Junior Achievement USA “Teens and Careers” survey, also revealed that the most popular careers, selected by 61 percent of survey respondents, are in the science, technology, engineering, math or the medical/dental fields, often referred to as STEM. Two-thirds (66 percent) of teens said their chosen career will require four or more years of college. However, nearly half (46 percent) have not started taking steps to prepare for the cost of training/schooling for their chosen career.

“It is concerning to see the number of teens who are considering changing their dreams based on the state of the economy and their perceived ability to make money in their dream career,” said Junior Achievement of Central Maryland President Jennifer Bodensiek. “However, it is encouraging that many students plan to continue their education to achieve their career goals and that so many are interested in high-growth careers, and. We believe in the importance of driving American competitiveness by preparing our young people for careers in fields where they can create the next generation of innovative products and services.”

The survey also revealed that more than a third (35 percent) of teens do not know anyone who works at their “dream job;” they learned about their desired career through their school. This finding underscores the importance of providing students with access to real-world work experiences and career mentoring.

The survey also indicates that the sluggish economy continues to influence many aspects of Americans’ lives. More than a third (35 percent) of teens have changed their college plans due to the state of the U.S. economy and job availability, and nearly one-third of teens (32 percent) are considering skipping college and going straight into the workforce.

The 2012 Junior Achievement USA “Teens and Careers” survey polled 787 U.S. teens ages 14-18 online during January 6-26, 2012. Read an executive summary of the results here. This is the eleventh year that the survey has been conducted.

About Junior Achievement of Central Maryland

Since 1957, Junior Achievement of Central Maryland has served nearly 1 million students with the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement of Central Maryland provides programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. This year, Junior Achievement of Central Maryland will reach 30,000 students through programs conducted by 2,400 volunteers. For more information, visit jamaryland.org.


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