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New research: Teens without career plans financially worse off

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“You can still decide later.” This piece of advice from parents or teachers seems to have harmful consequences for teenagers. New research show that young people who have a clear vision of their future career are financially better off than their undecided peers.

A new Australian study suggests that teens who struggle to decide on a career path end up around 100,000 Australian dollars (more than 60,000 Euros) worse off than their more career driven peers. The study, published in the Australian Journal of Education, was led by Australian National University sociology lecturer Joanna Sikora.

Sikora analysed the career plans of a group of 16-year-olds in 2006, and then revisited their life again a decade later to see how their careers were progressing once they had turned 26.

The researcher found that teens who were unsure what work path they should choose at the age of 16 could experience a six per cent earnings disadvantage during their lifetime. This also included teenagers who only had a vague idea such as working with animals or earning a big salary. These youngsters were more likely to still be unsure seven years later, at which time career uncertainty started to overshadow their financial situation as they hadn’t started a degree or training.

According to the Australian scientist, students from disadvantaged backgrounds generally experienced higher uncertainty about their career.

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