News | Published October 19 2019

OECD: Children's career aspirations limited by age 7

International economics think tank OECD has announced that children’s future career aspirations are limited by the age of seven according to their recent study.

The OECD’s director of education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, believes that stereotypes regarding gender, race and socio-economic background result in "talent… being wasted".

He continued "You can't be what you can't see. We're not saying seven-year-olds have to choose their careers now but we must fight to keep their horizons open.”

The report states that children assume the kind of employment they will enter into while still in primary education, and that there are "minimal changes" in the decade of education which follows.

The OECD further suggests that children are more inclined to select jobs which are known to them through friends and family.

Schleicher has given his support to the Education and Employers carers charity who hope to provide children with a wider understanding of jobs available to them.

He believes "It's a question of social justice and common sense to tackle ingrained assumptions as early as possible or they will be very tough to unpick later on.”

The project will bring people from a range of careers into schools in order to widen children’s knowledge of careers from a young age.

Nick Chambers, the chief executive of Education and Employers notes "Too often young people's ambitions are narrowed by an innate sense of what people from their background should aspire to and what's out of reach.”

This is reiterated by the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, Paul Whiteman, who notes that "The importance of exposure to the world of work at primary age cannot be overstated."

He continues, "The earlier children's aspirations are raised and broadened, the better."

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
October 19 2019

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