Teens Say ‘No’ to Parents’ Career Path

By - Deirdre Wilson

Thinking about turning your business over to your son or daughter some day? Better think again.

A new Junior Achievement poll of about 1,000 teens between ages 13 and 18 has found that 78 percent are not interested in taking on the same careers as their parents. Of the teens surveyed, 82.5 percent of the girls and 76.1 percent of the boys had no plans to go into the same careers as their parents.

While just a few decades ago children were often expected to take over a family business or choose their parents' career as their own, this hasn't been the case in the late 20th and early 21st century.

In the poll, conducted last fall, teens said their career interests are influenced, in the following order, by:


  • teachers and school counselors - teens ranked them as their No. 1 source of career information;
  • the Internet;
  • adult professionals that teens dealt with in "job shadowing"; and
  • parents.

Job shadowing, when a teen gets on-the-job experience by working with an adult professional while following a specific school curriculum, has grown more commonplace in the last couple of years. Several organizations, including Junior Achievement, America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth; and the U.S. Department of Labor, work together to promote job shadowing nationwide. For more information on this initiative, visit