What kinds of careers do secondary school students aspire to?

This report was originally published 08 July 2015.


This document presents results from 3,581 interviews undertaken with students who completed Year 12 in 2013 (Year 12 completers), 7,000 students who left school before finishing Year 12 (early school leavers) and 2,965 current Year 10 students. School leavers and Year 12 completers were asked what they expected their career to be at age 30 while students in the year 10 cohort were asked to indicate what their career aspirations were for the future.

Key results

  • Career expectations differed substantially between early leavers and other cohorts.
  • Early school leavers most commonly expected to be working as technicians or trades workers.
  • Year 12 completers and current Year 10 students most commonly expected or aspired to working in a professional capacity in the future.

Expected occupation at age 30 of year 12 completers and early school leavers and career aspirations of current year 10 students (%)

Respondents who were able to comment on their career aspirations were read a list of people who were potential influencers and asked which of these had influenced their intended career or career aspirations.

The number of current and previous students who answered the question included: 2,104 Year 10 students, 2,839 Year 12 completers and 5,361 early school leavers.

Key results

  • Students’ mothers reportedly had the greatest influence on their intended career choices.
  • Individual teachers had a stronger influence over the career aspirations of Year 10 students and Year 12 completers than those of early leavers.
  • For early school leavers, other relatives or adults, and school career advisers were more common influencers when compared to Year 12 completers.

Influences on intended career among early school leavers and year 12 completers and sources of influence over career aspirations for current year 10 students (%)

Return to top of page Back to top