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Kids Dream Jobs

by Lucy Knight on June 05, 2020

“When I grow up mummy, I want to be a superhero”

For those now working as key workers during the pandemic that may be a reality, but for the rest of us we’ve ended up doing things a little more realistic!

The jobs kids dream of doing when they’re older can change week to week depending on what they’re studying at school, watching on TV and reading in books.

To explore this further, Business.org partnered with child psychologist Dr. Sharon Saline to see which roles interest kids based on age and gender & then tracked these interests over time. We found this research immensely interesting, so wanted to share it with you all. Let us know what your little one's dream job is at the moment via our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter social media channels – we'd love to hear about it! 

 

Types Of Job Based on Age

(STEM is an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)

 

Age 5–6: Starts With Service Roles

The jobs that most children see and experience every day between ages five and six are usually service roles like firefighters and police officers. What’s more, service roles are easy for young children to understand.

Kids have fantasy lives and they are going to access in their imaginations what they experience in their daily lives. If you’re five and see a police officer, you understand what they do; their job is to protect you and to serve the community.

There’s also the fact that most kids at this age hit a point in their psychological and emotional development where they just want to be helpful.

 

Age 8–9: Interest In STEM, Athletic And Creative Roles On The Rise

By the time children hit age eight, their interest in service roles dramatically decreases. As kids age they become more interested in themselves and their own lives. A lot of kids in the eight to nine year old range begin to build their own identities, and they start to compare themselves to their family role models and understand what their parents do for a living.

The shift toward STEM roles (like engineers, scientists, doctors, and tech developers), creative roles (like writers, artists, and musicians) and athletic roles could also have something to do with changes in education around age eight.

 

Age 10–11: Move Towards Personalised Interests

As children mature, there’s another phase of development where kids begin to have a more individualised way of thinking. This changes how children view careers and which jobs they gravitate toward.

At this age, kids start to realise that they themselves are good at doing things. They want to lean into and spend more time with the thing they’re good at, so if they enjoy playing an instrument they may want to pursue a career as a musician.

 

Types Of Job Based on Gender

The study also found that kids understanding of gender roles may actually have a big impact on the careers they want. It found that across the board, girls chose creative dream jobs (like acting) more than boys. Meanwhile, boys chose service roles (like military service) far more often than girls.

So does this mean the ‘traditional’ idea that boys are naturally physical and girls are naturally creative holds true? Not at all. In part, it comes down to how we as parents raise our children.

We may consciously or unconsciously encourage girls to draw, or bead, or play with figurines or dolls or Lego. And we may encourage boys to do those things, but we may also be encouraging them a little bit more to play sports or run around outside.

Fortunately, it seems that many girls aren’t letting that hold them back. In fact, the study found that with age, the girls developed an increasing interest in STEM!

 

In Summary

Kids in the five- to six-year-old group were most likely to choose dream jobs that allowed them to help in some way.

Meanwhile, eight to nine-year-olds were most likely to choose jobs that their parents or other family members had.

Ten to eleven year olds were most likely to choose a dream job they felt they’d be good at.

You can read more about this research on business.org

We wanted to be astronauts when we were younger but we spent way too much time sleeping in as kids (and adults), so managing a company selling products that help us sleep was meant to be!

Love,

Lucy

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