Career Readiness Survey Analysis
How people think about being prepared for their career, how school factors in, and what works best
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Cam’s Main Takeaways
- Our respondents overwhelmingly agree that the responsibility for career readiness primarily resides with students themselves and parents. And college professors were expected to help with this more than K-12 teachers.
- Internships and apprenticeships were the preferred career preparation mechanism. And mentoring relationships appear to be under-appreciated by those that haven’t yet begun their career.
Table of Contents
- How Analysis Posts Work
- Businesses Supporting Communities Survey
- Sample Demographics
- Students, teachers, and parents
- Career Stage?
- How prepared are you for your career?
- Satisfaction with career readiness training?
- Who’s responsible for career readiness?
- What helps most?
- What do you wish you learned?
- How helpful would training or resources be now?
- Don’t buy it? Make it better.
How Analysis Posts Work
In our analysis, we take a deeper look at our survey results and highlight the patterns and insights we see under the surface using segmentation across meaningful demographics (like age, gender, and location). These are the things we think are interesting, and we make them public so everyone can learn.
But the views and insights you find here aren’t the only ones available! You may see a chart or interpretation and realize you’re dying to see a different angle — one that might be more helpful for your purposes. Cool! We can help you with custom views or services. Send us an email!
Businesses Supporting Communities Survey
Everyone needs to live, and working is how most of us can afford that. But navigating careers isn’t easy, and being prepared is important if you’re going to succeed. We wanted to know how people think about career readiness.
Here are our survey questions and results, and below’s what I found most interesting.
Whenever you look at survey results or findings, it’s a good idea to check the demographics of the respondents — that can have a lot to do with whether the results are likely to reflect a broad population, or just a niche group. This survey was distributed to our subscribers via email, through Facebook via targeted ads, and was shared by subscribers and Kuna High School as well.
We heard from over double as many women as men, mostly teens and middle-aged adults, and mostly from Ada County (since we partnered with Kuna High School…).
(One other thing to keep in mind — this is an opt-in survey, which means respondents decided whether or not they wanted to participate. I expect participants are more interested in this topic than others, so our results may not represent the views of an “average” Idahoan.)
Students, teachers, and parents
Let’s start with more details about our respondents’ demographics since we’re going to want to compare and contrast different groups of people.
You can see that a big proportion of our respondents are parents, and most of those have kids in the K-12 education system right now. But we’ve got a decent amount of students and administrators as well.
But let’s simplify these categories a little bit — let’s combine teachers and professors, for instance.
That’s better. With a simple formula, I was able to come up with 4 buckets: parents, students, teachers, and non-parents. This will come in handy for slicing some of the other questions.
Let’s talk a bit more about context. Besides the education-related demographics, I wanted to know what stage of people’s careers they’re in. That will likely be important in understanding how people answer. For instance, late stage or retired folks have a whole lifetime of career knowledge, and they may think differently than people that just started working.
Nearly half of the respondents are in the “middle stage” category — makes sense for parents of school-aged kids. But it’s good to know we’ve covered almost every stage decently well (retirees being the exception).
And, I thought it was interesting to overlay the career stage question on the education groups. You can see that some parents haven’t started their careers (stay-at-home parents?), and some students are in their “Middle stage” — that would be non-traditional college students, most likely.
We’re going to use this for segmentation as well.
How prepared are you for your career?
Okay, enough with demographics. Let’s talk about perceptions. First off, how prepared people feel for their careers, as of now.
About 60% said they feel “Very” or “Extremely” prepared, compared to about 15% that feel unprepared.
We’re going to need to break this down by different segments to be able to make much sense of this since we’re hearing from lots of different types of people.
This view shows us the proportion of people that chose each answer, based on their career stage. You can see that most of the “Not at all prepared” people haven’t started their career yet — it’s understandable that they might be anxious. Similarly, hardly any early career stage people feel “extremely prepared.”
Let’s check it by our education groups now.
You can see that students feel the least prepared, as I’d expect, but the majority felt at least “somewhat prepared.” That seems pretty good!
Satisfaction with career readiness training?
Now, what do people have to say about the career readiness training they got in school?
Overall, a resounding “meh.” The most popular answer was “Somewhat satisfied,” and there were slightly more on the “not” side.
Again, we need to break this down to see what patterns emerge.
When we look at the answers by career stage, there’s actually not that much of a difference. If anything, we see fewer early career people saying they’re “Extremely satisfied” and more saying “Not at all satisfied,” but it’s not dramatic.
And when it comes to our education groupings, the one standout to me is how much higher the satisfaction is of Teachers with their career readiness. Is that because their whole life has been in academia? Is that an illustration of how teachers are possibly out of touch with other career paths?
Who’s responsible for career readiness?
Next, we asked everyone who’s responsible for improving people’s career readiness, whether that’d be teachers, parents, government, etc.
The immediate standout from the overall view was the almost unanimous agreement that “themselves” are responsible. The second most-popular responsible party are parents. Overall, the least responsible parties are nonprofits and government.
I’m curious if parents think it’s their responsibility more than other groups.
Nope, parents definitely think it’s their responsibility, and the only group that thinks that more than them is teachers.
What helps most?
Next up, we asked which types of things help the most with career readiness.
Internships took first place, but the next four most-popular things were all very close together: apprenticeships, classes, job shadowing, and mentoring. The two least favorite options were teachers mentioning careers in classes and informational resources.
When it comes to students, their preferences were classes and job shadowing, and mentors were less preferred. Other than students, a standout was teachers’ preference for internships.
When we look at this question across career stages, it kind of looks like there’s a preference for internships among early stage professionals. Later stage professionals seem to prefer apprenticeships. And mentoring relationships appear under-appreciated by people that haven’t started their careers yet.
How helpful would training or resources be now?
And we asked whether career training or resources would be helpful to each respondent right now.
Sort of. A bit higher proportion considered this helpful than not.
I’m expecting this is largely determined by people’s career stage — the less time you’ve been working, the more helpful career information will be.
Nailed it! That’s what I’m seeing in this view. However, it’s not as dramatic as I originally expected. For instance, there are still about 10% of middle and late stage people that consider this information “extremely helpful” to them.
What do you wish you learned?
And we finished with an open form field about what people wish they’d have learned. You can peruse those answers at this link.
And if you want a high-level view, here’s a word cloud showing which words were used most often. “College,” “options,” and “skills” stand out to me as being interesting ones to potentially look into.
That’s all folks! If you want more analysis goodness, check out our other posts here.
Don’t buy it? Make it better.
Make Idaho Better is working to figure out what people really think. If you ever read our stuff and don’t believe the results, you could be right — maybe we aren’t hearing from enough people with different views.
If that’s what you think, help us get closer by joining and weighing in yourself, and ask your friends and family to do it too. The more people participate, the better the results will be. #DoYourPart