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Four considerations when choosing your career

Written by By Bryden Morton and Chris Blair, 21st Century • Online since 18.01.2018 • Filed under Education • From Sixteen - January to March 2018 page(s) 66
Four considerations when choosing your career

After years of studying and hard work, scholars look forward to receiving their final matric results. Although this is a momentous occasion for those who pass, it is merely the start of a young person’s adult life.

According to an article published last year by News24, there is a direct correlation between people’s levels of education and their earnings potential. So, how can young South Africans give themselves the best chance of entering a career that will fulfil their ambitions? Correct information about their chosen career is imperative.

First, ensure that they have the correct subjects and aptitude for the career of their choice. Guidance counselling and advice from knowledgeable sources at an early age can have a significant impact a young person’s ability to identify potential fields within which they would like to forge a career.

Secondly, demand for skills within a field should also be considered. It is important to be aware that sometimes a young person may need a plan B in case they are unable to find a career in their preferred field if the demand is too low or it is over-supplied. Having a second-choice career should not be seen a ‘cop out’ but rather an ‘insurance policy’ should obstacles arise that prevent a person from entering their field of choice. It is important to keep an eye on the national scarce skills lists and recruitment statistics (available from numerous recruitment agencies) as these show the competitiveness of the labour market within a chosen field.

Thirdly, potential earnings associated with each field should be considered. Although, money is often not the most important reason for entering a particular career, according to 21st Century survey data, it always ranks in the top three most important factors for employees. As an example, it is no secret that the actuaries command a premium salary in relation to many other jobs at the same job grade. This may entice a mathematically-gifted young person to pursue actuarial sciences rather than statistics or economics as a career.

Lastly, young people should also be made aware that studying at a formal University is not the only way to enter the labour force and earn a good salary. There are many opportunities within other careers, such as the artisan careers (boilermakers and electricians, for example) that provide incumbents with the opportunity to have lucrative and successful careers.

In summary, knowledge and awareness are a young person’s most valuable resources when deciding upon a career to pursue. Not only do young adults need to understand the labour market and expectations within their chosen fields, they must also be self-aware and understand themselves. It is the role of guidance counsellors, parents and role models to ensure that they assist these young people with these resources which will place them in the best position to choose the most appropriate career for their skill set.

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Sixteen - January to March 2018

Sixteen - January to March 2018

This article was featured on page 66 of Babys and Beyond Sixteen - January to March 2018 .

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