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Dream jobs differ depending on generation

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-26 08:07

The top dream job for Chinese men in childhood is to be a public servant. For women, it's to be a teacher. That's according to a survey published by LinkedIn, a US-based networking website, ahead of International Children's Day, which falls on June 1.

After civil servant - which one in four men selected in a multiple-choice survey - men dreamed of being scientists, policemen, businessmen and teachers, in that order, the survey found. Results were released on Wednesday.

Among women, nearly 31 percent dreamed in childhood of becoming a teacher. The next choices were medical worker, artist, public servant and designer.

More than 1,000 people between 22 and 45 took the online survey, which was conducted earlier this month.

It also showed that younger groups had more variety in their dream jobs. For those who were born before 1980, more than half found their childhood dream job in the top five of the list - which comprises mainly stable jobs with good social standing in a traditional sense.

However, 40 percent of respondents born after 1990 found their dream job in the top five. Corporate manager, pilot, flight attendant, movie director and photographer were what they dreamed about, the survey showed.

"Young people have more access to information, and social values have become increasingly diversified. So more young people make decisions based on their interests, rather than choosing just the jobs that are highly recognized in the traditional sense," said Wang Di, vice-president of LinkedIn China.

Roughly 13 percent of the respondents said they are currently doing what they dreamed of in their childhood, and 42 percent said they work in related areas. The rest have never tried what they used to dream about or have switched to other professions.

For Beijing native Xue Han, her dream job in childhood was to run a candy shop where people would feel happy when they walked in.

After graduating from Peking University, she started from scratch to try to make the dream come true but gave up after a year.

"It turned out to be hard to open a shop with just one person's effort and make it profitable," said Xue, 30.

Later she became a co-founder of WoW Education, a Beijing-based organization providing teenagers with learning opportunities through international service. She organizes roughly 200 students a year to help poverty-stricken Cambodian schools build facilities.

The dream job in childhood may not always be the best or most suitable, LinkedIn's Wang said.

"Children's perception of jobs may be limited. There's much room for improvement in children's understanding of jobs."


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