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.)
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.
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:
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.
An example would be21st 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!