Gallup and Amazon Study Finds Best Career Prospects for Young People

As the U.S. job market adapts to the needs of the future, Gallup and Amazon partnered to create The Careers of the Future Index (CFI), providing transparent and data-driven information on careers with the most potential growth. The CFI combines the most recent career-level data on income, job growth, job vacancies per job seeker and resistance to automation. It conveys the economic strengths and weaknesses of various career paths and highlights careers that both pay well and are likely to be available to applicants now and in the future.

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The result of this research is particularly significant for young people. More than one in five 15-year-olds (22%) in the U.S. cannot name a career when asked what job they expect to have by age 30, according to Gallup analysis of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data. The results vary based on gender — male students are more likely than female students to not know what career they want (28% versus 15%, respectively). The CFI can provide students access to key information about the wide range of jobs that are accessible in the United States and what different fields are expected to be needed.

Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon’s global philanthropic computer science education program, commissioned the CFI to provide young adults and their advisers with supported guidance about the economic prospects of jobs in the U.S. The findings offer new insights to educators and industry stakeholders seeking to help equip students from all backgrounds with the tools they will need to obtain jobs of the future.

“Many young people have misconceptions about viable careers or aren’t even sure what careers are available to them,” said Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup. “This data will help students better align their passion and proclivities, with an accurate perspective of available jobs.”

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For students who have an idea of what they want to do for their career, healthcare practitioners and technical occupations are the most cited future careers, accounting for one-third (33%) of all mentions. This category has a CFI score of 75, landing in the top 25th percentile and being a promising career prospect.

The study also found that 35% of 15-year-olds pick a career that falls below the top 20% of jobs, like athletes and actors, while overlooking higher scoring careers. Among the career pathways with the largest gap between popularity and economic viability are those in management, computers and mathematical occupations, and science. Many careers in these categories have shown steady growth, rank highly in terms of income and are resistant to automation.

Within top-scoring jobs, Black, Hispanic and American Indian workers are underrepresented at high levels, meaning their shares of jobs in top-scoring careers are well below their workforce shares across all jobs. Asian and White workers are overrepresented.

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