Choosing a profession: who should decide young people’s career paths?

Choosing a career path is one of the most important decisions that people make in their life. For some, it might be a complicated and anxiety-riddled experience. One reason is that the process of choosing a career begins at a young age when a person may not have thought about what they want to do with their lives. For this, among many other reasons, parents often play a role in deciding what their children study at university, which is often though not always associated with their profession. However, there are a number of arguments about why it is better to allow a child to choose their own career paths.  Based on the CRRC/NDI June 2018 survey, this blog post describes the adult population of Georgia’s views about whether parents or their children should choose their career, and describes how opinions differ by a number of demographic characteristics.

The survey asked respondents, ”Which of the following statements do you agree with: ‘When choosing a profession [profession has a similar meaning to university major in the Georgian language], the parents [should decide] because a parent knows better what will be useful for his/her child’ or ‘When choosing a profession, the child [should decide] even if the parent thinks that the child is making a mistake.‘” 

A majority (75%) of the population agreed that when choosing a profession the child should decide, while 23% answered that the parent(s) should. People living in the capital are more likely to  agree (85%) that the child should decide than people who live in rural settlements (68%). People between the ages of 18-35 are more likely to agree with the statement that children should decide than people of other age groups.  Level of education also is associated with whether people think that children or their parents should decide a child’s future profession. People who have higher than secondary education are more likely to agree with the statement that the child should decide than people with a lower level of education.  Interestingly, there is no visible difference between the answers of people who live in households with children (under 18) and people who do not. Nor is there a difference between men’s and women’s views regarding this issue. Similarly, ethnic minorities and majorities express similar opinions. These results are supported by a logistic regression analysis.

Note: Answer options “Agree with neither”, “Don’t know”, and “Refuse to answer” are  excluded from the analysis. The combined share of these responses options was under 4%. 

Overall, most people in Georgia report that when choosing a profession, the child should decide even if the parent thinks that the child is making a mistake.  This opinion is supported more often by people who live in the capital, have higher than secondary education, and young people (18-35).

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform. The results of the regression noted above are available here.