Aussie teenagers still pick gendered jobs

Greta Stonehouse
(Australian Associated Press)

Australian teenagers still split down gender lines when it comes to their career aspirations.

A national survey by the Australian Institute of Family Studies asked 3500 students aged 14 and 15 about their potential future profession.

The majority of boys went for jobs in engineering, construction and the tech industry, while girls avoided those careers, instead saying they’d like to be education, legal or social professionals.

Senior research fellow Jennifer Baxter was surprised to find not much has changed from generation to generation.

“It’s really about what the girls and boys grow up thinking about and are being exposed to,” Dr Baxter told AAP on Tuesday.

“There is a lot of gender divide within the labour market so boys and girls growing up are still seeing mostly women in those jobs like teaching and nursing.”

Eleven per cent of teens selected careers in highly competitive industries where there are very few jobs on offer.

The boys wanted to be professional footballers, YouTubers or technology experts, while the girls dreamt of becoming ballerinas or actors.

Institute director Anne Hollonds says there was a crossover between boys and girls in some industries, including the medical, design, planning and architecture professions.

“The highly gendered career aspirations may have been shaped at a much younger age by parents’ occupations, the local area labour market, or their own interests and perceptions of available jobs,” Ms Hollonds said in a statement.

While 40 per cent of 14 and 15-year-olds had no idea what their future occupation might be, Dr Baxter said that wasn’t a problem for the age group.

“It can actually be beneficial if it means teens get to explore a range of options.”


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