Boys more likely to become interested in scientific careers at age 14

Research using Child of the New Century has investigated how your aspirations towards science-related careers changed as you got older.

For this study, researchers looked at your responses to the age 11 and 14 surveys. At these ages, we asked you to tell us your aspirations and to let us know what you’d like to be when you grew up.

The research found that 9 per cent of you had science-related career aspirations at both age 11 and 14, and 64 per cent expressed non-scientific career aspirations at both ages.

Young people who consistently expressed an interest in scientific careers were more likely to come from a more advantaged family background, have a higher proportion of parents working within science-related fields, and higher self-esteem, compared to young people who consistently expressed other aspirations.

Sixteen per cent of you changed from expressing other (non-science) aspirations at age 11 to express science-related aspirations at age 14; and 12 per cent changed from expressing science-related aspirations at age 11 to other aspirations at age 14.

Young people who changed their aspirations at 14 towards science-related careers were more likely to be boys, to be from white backgrounds, have more enthusiasm for school, and have higher self-esteem.

The researchers think that these findings highlight the need to promote the possibility of science careers to all young people, regardless of gender and ethnicity.