How Teens See the Labor Market

Junior Achievement USA recently completed a survey of young men and women about what motivates them in determining career success and what they see for the future of the labor market. The study found that there is a striking difference in both the way boys and girls look at things, as well as the way this generation views things all together. For starters, the statistics showed that boys, more so than girls, are looking for job perks such as the chance for promotions and raises when choosing a career. Also, when looking at what it takes to prepare for a career, a greater percentage of girls identified things like job shadowing and networking as valuable assets.
But when asked what could persuade them to take a less than ideal job, the most important factor for both genders was the ability to have a positive impact on society. Of all the teens surveyed, 84% said this was the main reason that would cause them to settle for a job they didn’t enjoy. The other most likely reasons, respectively, were – being well paid, having decision making abilities, being challenged, and having publicity and public recognition. These are positive signs for a generation facing one of the most difficult job markets in history.
However, the statistics show the recession has affected this generation, as shown by the results when the young adults were questioned about what gives them anxiety about future employment. “The economy,” was the number one reason cited by teenagers that caused them worry about finding a job, and the second leading cause was “the unemployment rate.” The other reasons were that they wouldn’t have enough real world experience, wouldn’t know what career to choose, or schooling problems – that their grades weren’t good enough or their education hadn’t prepared them. While we can see the effects of the recession in their answers, a positive message exists in the data. More teenagers than ever want to affect the world in a beneficial way, and more than ever want to do it on their own.

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.