Survey shows most Israeli pupils choose careers early

Most want hi-tech career, others seek to help heal the world through medicine and science.

grow up 88 (photo credit: )
grow up 88
(photo credit: )
Israeli high school pupils are remarkably focused on their futures, a new survey has found, with 79 percent able to say what they'd like to do when they grow up. The largest percentage want to enter the world of hi-tech and computers, while the second largest want to help heal the world through medicine and science. The survey, the results of which were released Sunday, was carried out by the Geocartography Knowledge Group for Bank Ben-Leumi ahead of World Youth Day on Tuesday. The telephone survey was of 400 pupils aged 13-18 and was conducted during the last week of July. The margin of error was ±4.9 percent. Boaz Leviatan, head of strategic marketing at the bank, explained what the most significant findings were for them. "Pragmatism is very high among youth. You can see that because the results are consistent throughout almost all ages and genders. So many know what they want to do in the future. The second aspect which reinforces that is the fact that sport, music and acting received low scores - more pragmatic careers were preferred," he told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. The survey results cast an interesting light on pupils' perceptions of their education and its relevance to their future profession. In the south, just 35% thought they were being taught material relevant to their future careers. Whereas in Tel Aviv, Haifa and the Sharon, 50% thought their high school education was contributing to their professional goals. Similarly, just 11% of new immigrants thought their high school education was giving them an edge versus 46% of native Israelis. And just 33% of haredi pupils thought their schools were giving them professional tools. Leviatan noted that the number of pupils who thought their classes were beneficial for their future careers rose with age. "When you are 13 or 14 you don't understand why your math class is important, but if you want to go into hi-tech or computers then you appreciate it." Regarding the lack of satisfaction in the South, Leviatan was unsure what to make of it. "I don't have an explanation for it. It might need a follow-up research study," he told the Post. Hi-tech and computers led the list of preferred careers with 13% followed by medicine and science with 10%. More boys were interested in pursuing hi-tech (21% vs. 5%) and more girls were interested in pursuing medicine (12% vs 8%). Unsurprisingly, more girls were interested in psychology, education and architecture/interior design than boys. Also unsurprisingly, more boys were interested in a sports career than girls. However girls were more interested in financial management and entertainment than their male peers. Law and entertainment tied for third most interesting career at 8%. While law trailed in third place overall, it was first amongst 13 and 14-year-olds. Sixty eight percent were sure that their chosen profession would require education beyond high school. Seventeen- and eighteen-year olds were even more certain they would require higher education (72%). However, haredi youth were far less likely to be planning on higher education than their secular counterparts (43% vs 70%). Just 35% of those polled were actively attempting to acquire knowledge and skills about the profession they were interested in during high school. Of that third, 12% attended related extracurricular activities and 11% boned up on their field of interest on their own time. The survey was conducted as part of Bank Ben-Leumi's project "Turning Point" which attempts to help at-risk youth through giving them an educational framework with a focus on business initiatives. The project was created in conjunction with Matan, which connects businesses to the community, and Ashalim, a Joint Distribution committee organization which helps at-risk youth. The project has an NIS 20 million budget over five years with the goal of creating another 90 new initiatives. Two thousand pupils have been helped by the program to date. The bank will take a couple of lessons away from the survey results, according to Leviatan. "People were begging to get into the programs and we were surprised. After this survey, it made sense. Pupils are very pragmatic and interested in business. [In addition], we can now tailor our programs to what the pupils want," he said.