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Jumpstart Your Secondary School Child’s Career Exploration with Free Resources Like MySkillsFuture!

Photo by Akson on Unsplash

 

Worried that your secondary school teen doesn’t have clear career interests? Wonder what you should do to kick off discussions with your teen, or if you should explore options such as career counselling?

First, it’s important for parents to realise that our kids will face a vastly different career landscape when they head out into the world of work. To learn more about this, we recommend reading “Dream Jobs: Teenagers’ Career Aspirations and the Future of Work.” It’s a free report based on global statistics by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), where they address the following questions:

  • Have teens’ career expectations changed?
  • How interested are young people in good jobs with a future?
  • Are today’s teens dreaming of jobs that will still be around in 15 years’ time?
  • Do teens’ career expectations reflect their abilities?
  • Do teens know what they need to do to fulfil their career expectations?
  • Does career counselling make a difference?

Some interesting findings for parents to mull over:

  • Based on 2018 figures, the top occupations that advantaged students aspired towards included doctors (14.5%), teachers (6.1%), engineers (5.9%), business managers (5.7%), lawyers (4.1%), and ICT professionals (3.8%). 
  • The risk of job automation varies between countries. In Australia, Ireland, and the UK, about 35% of jobs (that youths said they aspired towards) are at risk of automation. In countries like Germany, Greece, and Japan, more than 45% of cited jobs are at risk. (For Singapore jobs, see below.)
  • Young people from the least advantaged backgrounds — who performed well on the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) science test — expressed lower career expectations than their peers from advantaged backgrounds.
  • Based on 2018 data, one in five young people had misaligned education and career expectations — they underestimated the levels of education typically required to secure professional or managerial positions. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds were most likely to harbour misaligned expectations.
  • Young people who participate in career development activities during the schooling years can mostly expect positive changes in their educational success, and in their work lives.
  • Effective career development activities can help youths gain a better understanding of the relationship between education and employment, broaden their career aspirations, and provide clarity on what they need to do, in order to reach their goals.
  • Activities that are not particularly time-consuming — such as attending a job fair or speaking with a school counsellor — are most strongly associated with more positive outcomes for youths.

What are the Emerging and Redundant Job Roles in Singapore?

Practical parents would also want to know what the job situation in Singapore might be like for our children.

A useful guide is the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” resource, where you can view country-specific data relating to employment.

Emerging skills in Singapore include:

  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Creativity, originality, and initiative
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology design and programming
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility
  • Troubleshooting and user experience
  • Technology use, monitoring, and control

Some examples of emerging jobs in Singapore are:

  • AI and Machine Learning Specialists
  • Data Analysts and Scientists
  • Big Data Specialists
  • Digital Transformation Specialists
  • Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Database and Network Professionals
  • DevOps Engineer
  • FinTech Engineers
  • Internet of Things Specialists

As for jobs that are becoming increasingly redundant in Singapore, these include:

  • Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
  • Data Entry Clerks
  • Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Business Services and Administration Managers
  • Assembly and Factory Workers
  • Client Information and Customer Service Workers
  • Human Resources Specialists
  • Bank Tellers and Related Clerks

How to Talk to Your Teens About Career Choices

Need a systematic way to approach career talks with your teen? Use this simple six-step process as a guide!

1. Ask questions to spark a conversation about work

Keep your initial questions casual (“What tasks do you enjoy or dislike doing?”) and fun (“If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?”). 

Need more ideas for questions? These can be easily found online! Try this list of questions to ask a teen about their future, or this list of 20+ questions to jumpstart one’s career exploration.

2. Identify where your teen displays aptitude 

Here is a simple way to think about this — does your teen work best with people, data, things, or ideas?

Check with your teen if the school has invited external providers to run strengths or aptitude tests for students; many secondary schools do this. If yes, go over the results with your teen and see if your teen thinks the assessment is accurate! If not, anyone with a SingPass account can do the RIASEC profiling test for free. This is a test that helps individuals to better understand their personality, strengths, and work values, so that they can identify suitable careers. RIASEC stands for Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional, and you can read more about these themes here

Need more assistance? Before you look for an external provider, do contact your teen’s school to set up a career counselling appointment — every secondary school should offer this. You can also get in touch with the Ministry of Education; find out more about their education and career guidance services here.

3. Be aware of the different educational and career pathways

Do you know about all the different pathways open to your child here in Singapore? You can easily do your research on MySkillsFuture. Here are some sections that you can browse:

4. Introduce teens to the world of work

This could include giving your teen a tour of your office, or letting them see the work that you produce. Talk about your work ethic and your passion for what you do, and wherever you go, look out for examples of people who enjoy their jobs and do it well — this is what you want to highlight for your teen.

Career fairs also provide good exposure, and you can check in regularly on MySkillsFuture’s events page to find suitable events to attend.

5. Help your teen to develop in-demand skills

An example would be 21st century competencies — the ability to communicate, manage time, work in teams, and problem solve will serve one well at the workplace. 

6. Identify work opportunities together

We are far better connected than our parents’ generation, and we are likely to have individuals in our network who can offer internship positions to our children. But if not, we should make our children aware that there are many routes to gaining experience as a student, such as volunteer work.

 

Want to discuss career guidance with other parents? Do start a fresh chat in our Recess Time section!

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