ERIC Number: ED408127
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Predictors of Occupational Choice among Rural Youth: Implications for Career Education and Development Programming.
Conroy, Carol A.
A survey of rural secondary school students examined the formation of adolescent occupational identity by identifying predictors of students' ideal jobs. Data were collected from 612 of the approximately 750 students in grades 7-12 in a rural Pennsylvania school district. Predictors of choice of ideal job, by descending influence, were gender, average grades, knowledge about a job and its opportunities, and father's occupation. However, these factors explained only 18.7 percent of variance in ideal job scores. Results confirm that American adolescents often have unrealistic occupational aspirations in that the job opportunities likely to be available to them do not match their expressed interests. More students in this study were enrolled in college preparatory programs than were likely to go to college and were therefore unlikely to meet their educational and occupational goals. Other findings were that students' expected salaries were much higher than the norm for the local labor market, female students identified less with traditional female occupations than they did 25-30 years ago, students from advantaged backgrounds aspired to higher-status jobs than those from disadvantaged homes, and academically talented students selected higher-status ideal jobs than did students with lower grades. Recommendations include initiating job awareness and exploration at an earlier age, providing data on labor market trends to all students, developing goal setting skills as part of the regular curriculum, requiring students to investigate characteristics of all major job categories, engaging students in experiential activities exploring job opportunities, and providing educational components to compensate for selective information delivery that results from socioeconomic conditions. Contains 27 references. (TD)
Descriptors: Career Awareness, Career Choice, Career Education, Career Guidance, Education Work Relationship, Occupational Aspiration, Rural Areas, Rural Youth, Secondary Education, Secondary School Students, Self Concept, Student Attitudes, Student Surveys, Vocational Interests, Work Attitudes
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania