Uncertainty in early occupational aspirations: Role exploration or floundering?

Staff, Jeremy, Harris, Angel, Sabates, Ricardo and Briddell, Laine (2010) Uncertainty in early occupational aspirations: Role exploration or floundering? Social Forces, 89 (2). pp. 659-683. ISSN 0037-7732

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Many youth in the United States lack clear occupational aspirations. This uncertainty in achievement ambitions may benefit socioeconomic attainment if it signifies role exploration, characterized by career development, continued education, and enduring partnerships. By contrast, uncertainty may diminish attainment if it instead leads to aimlessness, involving prolonged education without the acquisition of a degree, residential dependence, and frequent job changes. We use nationally representative data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) to examine how uncertainty in occupational aspirations in adolescence (age 16) affects wage attainments in young adulthood (age 26). Results suggest that youth with uncertain career ambitions earn significantly lower hourly wages in young adulthood than youth with professional and non-professional aspirations, supporting the view that uncertainty heightens the risk of labor-market problems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: I worked on the proposal for funding and background information
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
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Depositing User: Ricardo Sabates
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:27
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2012 11:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25967
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