Teenagers do not want to work in smelters Skip to content

Teenagers do not want to work in smelters

The Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) presented the results of a new study yesterday, voicing concerns that career expectations of teenagers in Iceland do not coincide with the needs of the economy.

According to Fréttabladid, the Institute for Academic Evaluation (Námsmatsstofnun) conducted the study for SA. In 2000, 2003 and 2006, 15-year-olds in Iceland were asked what kind of a job they expected to have at 30.

Interest in becoming specialists has increased steadily. Most participants in 2006, 58 percent, want to become professionals of some kind. Currently, only 14 percent of Icelanders work as professionals.

Only one percent of participants want to be office workers or manual laborers, none want to operate heavy machinery, two percent want to become farmers or fishermen, ten percent want to become craftsmen and 11 percent want to work in the service industry.

Hannes G. Sigurdsson, assistant managing director of SA, has voiced concerns that few teenagers are interested in natural sciences and that their lack of interest does not coincide with the reality of the situation.

“If few want to work in technology or natural sciences we can not expect to have a hi-tech community here in the future with many innovative companies,” Sigurdsson said.

He suggested the school system and the economy have to cooperate more on improving the image of natural sciences.

“The kids’ choice is very one-sided, which indicates that there are many common and important jobs that they are not aware of,” Sigurdsson said.

The study indicated that teenagers were not influenced by growth in business in their career choices as few want to work for banks.

They did not seem impressed by growth in heavy industry or increased smelter construction either. Only a handful is interested in working on construction sites or in factories.

Ragnar F. Ólafsson from the Institute for Academic Evaluation said he is not surprised or worried by the results. “I feel the results coincide with the emphasis on university education in society.”

“I believe we can be optimistic about the future. The girls delivered especially good results. In 2000, 22 percent of them wanted to work in service, but now they want to become professionals like dentists or doctors,” Ólafsson said.

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