Why do people underestimate their choice of profession

Career choice : Sounds cool, I want to be

Wellness, fitness, healthy eating: on Instagram and Youtube, these are big topics that many young people are also interested in. Maybe that would be exciting for your professional life? Appropriate vocational training, which deals with precisely this content, is called a dietician. That doesn't sound particularly appealing to many young people.

But how much do such, often rather unattractive-sounding terms really influence your career choice? "My experience from career counseling practice is that young people can hardly imagine many occupations," says Sarah Müller, career advisor at the Federal Employment Agency in Bremen. That is why many people mainly go after what they know about their families, what they have already heard or what they can explain to themselves. This reproduces the pattern: "The girls still want to work in commercial professions," says Müller. Medical, dental assistants and nursing staff were also part of it.

The job name is a figurehead

The young people would also opt for commercial professions, but mainly for “something manual”, for example as a car mechatronics technician, carpenter and plant mechanic for plumbing and air conditioning.

Few of them are aware that they sometimes miss out on opportunities to use their potential in lesser-known professions. "Professions that young people cannot imagine or that sound unattractive are often excluded in advance and ignored," says Monika Hackel from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB). That would be the case even if their activities suited them. The professional name as a figurehead should therefore not be underestimated in the career choice process.

In addition, some young people assume “that they are more likely to gain recognition with professions in which people work with their heads instead of their hands,” says Hackel. This poses a problem for some employers.

Marion Presek-Haster from the Federal Association of the Building Cleaning Trade (BIV) sees this as an indication of why “academic training has been preferred to dual” for years. In addition, if there is a shortage of young talent, “certainly demographic change” plays a role. At the same time, it has to do with the image of a profession, which is derived from the name. “When people think of building cleaning, they think of the classic cleaning lady. Our craft is a demanding apprenticeship. "

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Some industries are now responding to this with more targeted communication and widespread youth campaigns. Wherever possible, a gender-spanning approach has also established itself.

André John speaks at the Central Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry (ZVEI), for example for IT system electronics. The profession has always been male-dominated. John generally advocates more career orientation in schools. The technology-oriented professions did not even get into the field of vision for many women. But if technology were already part of the classroom, they could be much more likely to feel addressed by it.

Women are more likely to become media designers than typesetters

Wouldn't it also help to make some training courses more attractive or easier to understand? Some professional associations are considering this. For example, as early as the late 1990s, it was found that significantly more women applied for positions in “media designers in digital and print” than in the previous professions “typesetter” and “master copy maker”, according to the BIBB.

Conversely, more men should feel addressed if there is a male counterpart in the name in female-dominated professions, such as the nursing specialist or the educator. André John warns, however, not to use a name for marketing purposes only. “The whole thing has to fit into the system as a whole and be meaningful.” Women and men should do something because they want to. "That is why a professional name has to express what it contains".

So basically for young people the main thing is to find out which training courses are available and what is really behind the names. Career counselor Sarah Müller recommends young people to pay more attention to what people do in their own larger environment and to actively seek dialogue with family, friends and acquaintances. “Young people can question: What did my parents learn or study, what do they work today? The question is helpful: How do I like to spend my free time, and can it be turned into a job?

"After closer observation, many young people can at least name occupational areas that they find interesting," says the consultant. Then internships, Girls 'and Boys' Day (see box) or visits to trade fairs would be suitable for getting to know professions and activities in these areas. dpa

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