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Jun 04 2017
by Melissa Cordell

These Are The 10 Most Popular Career Choices For Generation Z

By Melissa Cordell - Jun 04 2017
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Thousands of members of Generation Z are graduating from high school within the next few weeks. There have been a lot of questions, especially around dinner tables, about what members of this generation are going to do with the rest of their lives. A survey conducted by Exploringa co-ed career-development program created by the Boy Scouts of America, show that an interest in skilled trades is decreasing while STEM fields are prospering.

This survey conducted with 150,000 young people in grades 8-12.  

Only 3 percent are interested in skilled trades. These career paths can include electricians and carpenters. This is a field that is already experiencing labor shortages, which are expected to worsen after seeing the results of this survey. 

The top job pick by youth is registered nurse, and speculation could say because of high schools offering career options that start in high school to get CNA certified and become an RN faster. 

In fact, four of the top 10 career options were in the health care field, and 45 percent of survey respondents were interested in STEM occupations.

After STEM careers followed arts and athletics. Age was a deciding factor in what people said they wanted to do with their lives. Middle schoolers were more likely to choose fields in the arts and athletics. Fields in the arts included singers and actors. 

These were the top 10 most popular career choices: 

1. Registered nurse

2. Professional athlete

3. Artist

4. Musician/singer

5. Athletic trainer/sports medicine

6. Physician/surgeon

7. Actor/actress

8. Veterinarian/veterinary technician

9. Photographer

10. Mechanical engineer

“As a society, we must take the question of, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up,’ and flip it on its head. It’s a difficult question for many young people to answer and one they shouldn’t have to answer on their own. We must show youth the vast opportunities that exist and explain how their current interests can lead to a rewarding career in the future,” said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of Boy Scouts of America, in a press release. “Exploring creates a foundation tomorrow’s leaders by allowing youth to explore their interests, discover new talents and begin to chart a path for the future.”

Gender also proved to be a decider in what students were interested in. For health careers, 12 percent of males expressed interest, while 40 percent of females expressed interest. Eighteen percent of males chose an engineering career and only three percent of females chose one. Young women were 86 percent less likely to choose a career in computing, and young men were twice as likely to choose a business career. 

“In addition to informing career choices, the workplace experiences provided through Exploring can help debunk some of the stereotypes and social patterns that persist today,” Surbaugh said. “If we can help students see that people from all walks of life can succeed in a wide range of fields, we can open their eyes to career opportunities that they may not have previously considered.”

Lead Image Credit: Jason Truscott via Flickr Creative Commons


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Melissa Cordell - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Melissa Cordell is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science and Peace, War & Defense, with a Women's Studies minor. She loves working on campaigns, activism and writing. Follow her on Instagram @meldelissacor and Twitter @MM_Cordell!

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