Berufswünsche von Jugendlichen

Career aspirations of young people • Profiling Institute

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Young people’s career aspirations often predict their actual career choice to a non-negligible extent. Therefore, it is also interesting to watch them and check their development. How have the career aspirations of young people changed between 2000 and 2018? What are the most popular jobs? How is this future proof?

Current studies

The current OECD study (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) which refers to Data from the PISA surveys from years 2000 and 2018 supports. In them, 15- to 16-year-olds were also asked about their career aspirations. These data were for 41 countries in OECD study “Dream Jobs: Teenagers’ Career Aspirations and the Future of Work” evaluated.

It turned out that in 2018 a particularly large number of young people reported being in one of the ten most popular professions want. That’s what the girls said 53 percentwith boys 47 percent. By comparison, in 2000 these percentages were even lower, at 8 percent for boys and 4 percent for girls. From this it can be concluded that young people narrow minded in their career aspirations happened especially in proven professions by set which, among other things, ignores technical progress through digitalisation. The concentration of young people’s career aspirations in only a few jobs could be critical for the future and reflect the limited career horizons of young people.

in Germany are the career ambitions of young people broader and less limited to these ten frequently mentioned professions. Here it would less than four out of ten young people indicate that they want to work in one of these professions. For girls, this means a percentage of 51, for boys one in 40. Overall, they should 38 percent of young Germans aspires to one of the ten most popular jobs. Career aspirations would generally depend not only on the students’ country of origin, but also on their gender, social background and achievements.

The ten most popular career aspirations in 2018 for all countries ranked and for Germany, broken down by gender, are listed below.

Top Ten Career Aspirations in 2018:


  • Doctor (15.6 percent)
  • teacher (9.4 percent)
  • Manager/entrepreneur (5 percent)
  • lawyer (4.6 percent)
  • nurse/midwife (4.5 percent)
  • psychologist (3.7 percent)
  • Designer (3 percent)
  • Veterinarian (2.8 percent)
  • policewoman (2.3 percent)
  • architect (2.1 percent)


  • Engineer (7.7 percent)
  • Manager/trader (6.7 percent)
  • doctor (6 percent)
  • Computer scientist (5.5 percent)
  • Professional athletes (4.9 percent)
  • teacher (4.6 percent)
  • police officer (4 percent)
  • Vehicle mechatronics technician (2.8 percent)
  • lawyer (2.4 percent)
  • architect (2.2 percent)

The ten most popular career aspirations in Germany in 2018:


  • teacher (10.4 percent)
  • doctor (10 percent)
  • teacher (6.4 percent)
  • psychologist (4.5 percent)
  • nurse (4.5 percent)
  • architect (3.6 percent)
  • policewoman (3.5 percent)
  • Administrative workers (3.2 percent)
  • Designer (2.8 percent)
  • lawyer (2.7 percent)


  • Computer scientist (6.7 percent)
  • Mechanical engineers (5.2 percent)
  • Vehicle mechatronics technician (5.1 percent)
  • police officer (4.5 percent)
  • teacher (3.8 percent)
  • Scientists (3.6 percent)
  • Doctor (3.1 percent)
  • Engineer (3.1 percent)
  • architect (2.8 percent)
  • Professional athletes (2.6 percent)

future prospectuses

The OECD study also examined young people’s career aspirations and future prospects. For this purpose they researched which of the mentioned professions will probably still exist in 10 to 15 years state and which through automation processes and digitization will be significantly altered/restricted/dismantled or non-existent as a result.

and frequently mentioned professions in the social, health, cultural or legal fields, they are accordingly relatively stable over time, because the risk for automation processes is low here. However, look at mentioned professions that are outside the top 5 or 10, there are many jobs that will probably no longer exist in 10 to 15 years because the risk of automation is particularly high here. Overall, it would 39 percent occupations mentioned by young people Risk will be automated in the next 10 to 15 years become. This number refers to the average of the mentioned occupations of young people from all countries. When considering professions according to German youth they were appointed, so be it Risk even for 45 percent of professions given and thus higher.

How many of the listed professions are at risk of automation, it also depends on how young people are prioritized. Among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, fewer professions are exposed to this risk (37 percent), on the contrary, more professions in named professions of disadvantaged young people (41 percent). That also Genus play a role. Boys would list more occupations that are at risk (41 percent) than girls (38 percent).


So the career aspirations of young people are still there traditional and condense into several occupations. This can be problematic many of the professions mentioned are at high risk of being automated in the next 10 to 15 years. To prevent this, it is suggested that a better and early professional orientation in schools which takes into account the changing world of work and shows new perspectives and opportunities with the future. There could be one here relation to the world of work be helpful, for example through internships.

Free places for dual studies and free training places like Jobs for graduates are also available on these pages

You can find the OECD study here:

Dream Jobs: Teenage Career Aspirations and the Future of Work

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