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Gallup Student Poll: Job Confidence Lower in Higher Grades
Education

Gallup Student Poll: Job Confidence Lower in Higher Grades

by Shane Lopez and Brandon Busteed
Gallup Student Poll: Job Confidence Lower in Higher Grades

Story Highlights

  • High school students less confident about finding jobs after graduation
  • Girls' confidence declines more than boys' over time

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup Student Poll students in elementary and middle school are much more optimistic about their ability to find a good job than are students in high school. The percentage of students in grades 5 through 12 who strongly agree with the statement, "I know I will find a good job after I graduate" declines from 68% in grade 5 to 49% in grade 10, and remains at about that level through grade 12.

Finding a Good Job After Graduation, 2014

Optimism about future job pursuits declines over time; however, the decline is a bit steeper for girls than for boys. Two-thirds (67%) of boys in grade 5 strongly agree that they will find a good job when they graduate, compared with half of boys in the 12th grade -- a difference of 17 percentage points. In contrast, girls are slightly more optimistic in grade 5, with 70% strongly agreeing that they will find a good job, but this falls 24 points to 46% among girls in grade 12.

Gallup Student Poll results are based on Web interviews with more than 800,000 public school students in grades 5 to 12 in 48 states (Tennessee, Montana and the District of Columbia are not included). The Gallup Student Poll is offered to all schools at no cost. Gallup does not randomly select schools or students to participate in the poll, and Gallup does not weight the sample. Thus, while these data reflect the opinions and attitudes of a large amount of students, they are not representative of all students in grades 5 to 12 throughout the U.S.

Bottom Line

All people want a good job. Most students believe a good job is in their future, but Gallup Student Poll respondents' optimism wanes for students who are entering high school, and drops further for those in 10th grade. There could be many reasons that confidence in job prospects dips at this point in a student's education -- but regardless, the trend is clear. Given that "college and career" readiness are hallmark goals of the U.S. education system, leaders of all kinds -- from education to government to business -- need to consider building a stronger connection between education and employment to try to keep students' job optimism high as they advance in school.

Gallup-HOPE Index research indicates that less than 10% of students in grades 5 to 12 are currently interning with a local employer. And Gallup-Purdue Index research from college and university graduates indicates that less than one-third had a job or internship during college in which they applied what they were learning. Those who did were more likely to be employed full time and more than twice as likely to be engaged in their work. Therefore, American educational institutions and employers have room to improve by providing more real-world work experiences for students.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup Student Poll are based on Web-based interviews conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 31, 2014, with a convenience sample of 867,541 students in grades 5 to 12, living in 48 states (Tennessee, Montana and the District of Columbia are not included).

Gallup does not randomly select schools for participation in the annual poll, charge to administer the poll or give incentives, apart from providing school-specific data to participating schools. Gallup does not weight the Student Poll samples because the samples are not randomly drawn from a larger population; they are instead a convenience sample of participating schools and students.

Learn more about how the Gallup Student Poll works.

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