Survey of First through 12th Graders Reveals Need for Greater Visibility Into Career Choices Early in a Child’s Life

Career insights platform finds delaying exposure leads to difficulty in setting realistic professional aspirations

JACKSONVILLE, Feb. 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- randrr, the career insights platform, released the results of a new survey that found American students in elementary, middle and high school who are exposed to a limited number of career choices, often pick aspirational careers such as a professional athlete or entertainer which sometimes lead to difficulty determining realistic educational pursuits and, ultimately, discovering a profession they will be passionate about.

“The data shows that people at a very young age set expectations around career choices, which change over time as they are exposed to new possibilities,” said Terry Terhark, founder and CEO of randrr. “Exposing children to various types of work and careers can help them make the most of their education and find careers that they love. We don’t think this learning process ends. As adults, we need the same kind of exposure to information and insights that guide our career paths to jobs that we love.”

This survey shows students are not given adequate time and insights into the realities of the work world. Responses from elementary and middle school students reveal they want to be what they see –– whether it’s a teacher, police officer or YouTuber, as many noted. By introducing students to a variety of traditional and non-traditional professions earlier in their educational journey, they become better equipped to make smarter decisions that increase their probability of success.

The cross-sectional survey was conducted among 818 Ohio students between first and 12th grade in December of 2017.

Key findings include:

  • Students aren’t usually exposed to realistic careers until the last third of their education, so they spend most of that time with unrealistic aspirations. Almost 20 percent of elementary males expect to have an aspirational career (professional athlete, coach, actor/actress, singer, etc.) compared to to 5 percent of high school male students.
  • 24 percent of the high school students wanted a career in the medical field while only 0.003 percent of the US population are employed as doctors, revealing a disconnect between the perspectives of students and the professional reality.
  • Gender imbalance. There is a clear lack of females in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. 10 percent of the male students identified interest in STEM careers compared to less than 5 percent of the female students.
  • 75 percent of high school students planned to attend a 4-year college after graduation, but the top dream jobs selected were “The Medical Field” and “Business,” and almost 10 percent didn’t know what they wanted to major in.

“Exposing children to a multitude of options to help them find careers that interest them and fit their strengths can help to alleviate anxiety while strengthening the likelihood of success when they are faced with deciding what they want to major in college,” said Karyssa Siegel, Marketing Owner at randrr, who conducted the survey.

“Businesses must participate in preparing students for the skills and education they’ll need in tomorrow’s workforce,” added Terhark. “Education systems need to be agile enough to accommodate changing business needs. We should be engaging with emerging technologies and existing data to encourage the development of needed skills, ensuring that children are equipped with the necessary competencies to be agile in a rapidly evolving workforce.”

This is the first in a series of surveys randrr intends to conduct with students in 2018 to better understand this problem and to use technology to provide transparency into the world of work for the next generation.

See the Student Career Survey Results Report for full findings and recommendations.


About randrr

Great careers require good decisions. randrr is the career insights platform everyone can use to make smart career choices. With randrr, all the information anyone needs to enhance their career is now in one place. Our platform helps people know their marketability, where they stand in the job search process, and protects their personal privacy. randrr puts the information needs of people — not recruiters or companies — first.

Notes to editors: 

  • Aspirational career is defined as actor/actress, coach, professional athlete, comedian, and singer.
  • There were a total of 879 dream jobs identified due to some respondents making multiple selections.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Breakdown in responses from first through 12th graders by dream job categories. High school students, breakdown of plans after graduation.