Teenage Professional Aspirations-Girls STEM ability high but professional interest low.

The Economist February 15, 2020 pp56 Bartleby “Teenage Picks” “Some unfortunate mismatches in young people’s job preferences and prospects”

A survey of 15 year-old teenagers from 41 wealthy OCED countries confirmed some widely known realities. Despite equal academic achievement in STEM, girls continue to have less ambition for STEM professions by a least 10% compared to boys-Note STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Females account for only about 35% of STEM undergraduate and STEM Ph.D.s.

The professional gap is smaller in the field of medicine but women tend to occupy most of the lower paid roles and less of the higher paid roles. The gap is huge in technology, in Britain only 20% for computer science university students are female while technology will account for a quarter of emerging professions. How to correct the gender gaps is unclear.

Other survey findings. Nearly half of girls and boys mentioned a preference for traditional professional roles such as doctors, teachers, business managers and lawyers. Not all that surprising for teenagers as they are most familiar with these roles. Three of the top 15 preferred roles are were designers, actors and musicians.

What are the fastest growing jobs? Although rarely mentioned by the teenagers, the fasting growing roles are “user support technician, “computer user support specialist”, “solar-voltaic installers and wind-turbine technicians”.

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