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Only a few of us are working in the jobs we predicted we would be

By 15, many of us have a clear(ish) idea of the type of work we think we will do, but do we know how many of us actually end up working those jobs?

Lately we’ve been thinking and talking quite a bit about the ways in which we move into the work we do, because as we’ve developed the Career Clusters it’s becoming apparent that there are far more of us working in invisible jobs that we originally thought. These are the people who say that they ‘fell into’ the work they are doing, that they never planned to end up there, and they had no idea that kind of work existed when they were a teenager.

I’m one of these people – when I was 15 I was convinced I was going to become a civil engineer, but that is certainly not where I ended up. Right now, I work in Career Education, and while I’ll never actually be able to tell if I would have been happier building bridges and airports than I am know, it’s safe to say that I’m enjoying my career. I feel like I’ve ‘landed’ in a place that’s right for me.

We recently asked our network about their own pathway, and how it relates to where they thought they would be, and there were some surprising results. Here are our key takeaways:

  1. Only a few of us ended up where we thought we would 
    Just 6% of people said they were working in the same career path as they expected when they were 15. This is a tiny percentage of people – far fewer than I would have expected. Which makes me wonder, if we know that only a few of us actually work in the path we spent so much time thinking about at 15, why do we ask them to pick a path in the first place?
  2. Over three quarters of us have found something better
    77% of people said they are doing something better than they thought they would be when they were 15 years old. Which is fantastic; it’s great to hear that so many people have found something they enjoy, and that they feel that they’ve ended up in the right place for them.
  3. It can take a while to find where you fit
    In another poll, we found that a whopping 92% of Careers Advisors took longer than 5 years to move into the field. This is where those invisible jobs come in again – while Careers Advisors aren’t ‘invisible’ for young people, it’s also not very high up on their radar, so it’s not surprising that so many of us weren’t planning on ending up in this field.

What about you? How long did it take you to find where you fit, and was it where you thought it would be?


More articles

Pondering Careers – Edition 43 – You need to read these reports on skills

Pondering Careers – Edition 42 – Early Entry Thoughts

Pondering Careers - Core Skills at School

Pondering Careers – Edition 41 – How do we talk about core skills at school?

How to support LGBTQIA+ young people at school

Pondering Careers – Edition 40 – An argument for basic training

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