New National Poll: Majority of Teens Would Consider Giving Up Dream Job for Higher Salary

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New National Poll: Majority of Teens Would Consider Giving Up Dream Job for Higher Salary

Junior Achievement USA survey sponsored by the ING Foundation also indicates majority of teens interested in STEM-related careers
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.@JA_USA & @ING_USA recently released its new #Teens&Careers survey. Executive Summary of findings available:
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 2:00pm

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) March 7, 2012 - According to a new national survey of teens, less than half (43 percent) are “very confident” they will someday have their dream job, and a significant majority—71 percent— said they would either give up their dream job for one that paid a higher salary or might consider doing so. The 2012 Junior Achievement USA “Teens and Careers” Survey, sponsored by the ING Foundation, also revealed that the most popular careers, selected by 61 percent of survey respondents, are in science, technology, engineering, math (often referred to as STEM), or the medical/dental fields. Given those results, not surprisingly, two-thirds (66 percent) of teens said their chosen career will require four or more years of college. However, nearly half (46 percent) have not started taking steps to prepare for the cost of training/schooling for their chosen career.

Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA, noted, “It is concerning to see the number of teens who are considering changing their goals based on the state of the economy and their perceived ability to make money in their dream career. However it is encouraging that many students plan to continue their education and that so many are interested in high-growth careers. We believe in the importance of driving American competitiveness by preparing our young people for careers in fields where they can create the next generation of innovative products and services.” 

Other key findings of the survey revealed that more than a third (35 percent) of teens do not know anyone who works at their “dream job” and learned about their desired career through their school. This finding underscores the importance of providing students with access to real-world work experiences and career mentoring, provided by programs like Junior Achievement’s JA Job Shadow™, in which students “shadow” employees at a business and gain valuable insight into the importance and application of “soft skills” such as teamwork and problem solving in the workplace.

The Junior Achievement USA – ING Foundation survey also indicates that the sluggish economy continues to influence many aspects of Americans’ lives. More than a third (35 percent) of teens have changed their college plans due to the state of the U.S. economy and job availability, and nearly one-third of teens (32 percent) are considering skipping college and going straight into the workforce.

Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING U.S.’s Office of Corporate Responsibility said, “We are encouraged that so many teens are interested in careers in high-growth sectors, such as technology and medicine. Yet many of them have not begun preparing to pay for college. ING supports Junior Achievement because their programs help students identify and prepare for that ‘dream job’ and also give young people the financial literacy skills to help achieve their career goals.”

Kosakowski added, “One of Junior Achievement’s key strategic efforts, JA Graduation Pathways™, aims to increase high school graduation rates by aligning JA programs to key indicators around whether a student will ultimately graduate from high school, such as attitude and academic achievement. Our research indicates that JA programs help students see the important connections between what they learn in school and life after graduation.”

The 2012 Junior Achievement USA – ING Teens and Careers Survey was conducted by Knowledge Networks, and polled 787 U.S. teens ages 14-18 online during January 6-26, 2012. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Read an executive summary of the results here. This is the eleventh time Junior Achievement has conducted this survey.


About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches four million students per year in more than 120 markets across the United States, with an additional 6.5 million students served by operations in 117 other countries worldwide. Visit for more information.

About ING
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based insurance, retirement services and investment management operations of ING Groep N.V.  In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning.  ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 15 million customers across the nation.  For more information, visit

About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit or connect with us on Facebook at and Twitter @INGact2impact.


Audria Benn
+1 (770) 980-5715
Stephanie Bell
+1 (719) 540-6171
Junior Achievement USA