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Identifying Influencers in High School Student ICT Career Choice. Ron Babin rbabin@ryerson.ca Ken Grant kagrant@ryerson.ca Lea Sawal lea.sawal@ryerson.ca Ted Rogers School of IT Management, Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agenda. The problem defined

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identifying influencers in high school student ict career choice

Identifying Influencers in High School Student ICT Career Choice

Ron Babin

rbabin@ryerson.ca

Ken Grant

kagrant@ryerson.ca

Lea Sawal

lea.sawal@ryerson.ca

Ted Rogers School of IT Management, Ryerson University

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

agenda
Agenda
  • The problem defined
  • What have others found – literature review
  • Our approach – methodology
  • What we found – survey results
  • What does this mean?
  • Recommendations

High School Student ICT Career Choice

the problem defined
The Problem Defined
  • In the 1990s students flocked to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programs
  • Since 2001, the fall-off in interest and enrollment has exceeded the growth of the 1990s
  • Long established trend of low female enrollments continues
  • This is an important societal issue as the ICT working population faces significant retirements in the next decade
  • The problem: How do we encourage young students to consider a career in ICT?

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what others have found decline in is enrollments
What others have found – decline in IS enrollments
  • “a generation has been dissuaded from what is in reality a very promising career choice” Mitchell 2006
  • Students and parents perceive that there are no jobs in IS – all going offshore to India, because as Thomas Friedman suggests, “The World is Flat”
  • Nicholas Carr tells us that “IT Doesn’t Matter”
  • IS jobs are seen as “nerdy”, “geeky”, just like Dilbert

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what others have found how students choose career directions
What others have found – how students choose career directions
  • High school students are influenced by:
    • Role models and key figures (Paa & McWhirter)
    • Parents and friends (Alexitch et al.)
    • Families and professors (Zhang)
    • Their own evaluation of outcomes and social pressures – Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (Zhang)
    • High school counsellors and teachers (McInerney et al.; Granger et al.)

High School Student ICT Career Choice

our approach methodology
Our approach - Methodology
  • Two surveys compared the perceptions of counsellors and students re ICT programs and careers
    • 111 counsellor responses
    • 141 student responses in IT Management program
  • A related career survey collected 1335 student responses in Business Management program

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what we found survey results
What we found – Survey results
  • “Opportunity to earn above average income”

Counsellors

ITM Students

4.15

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree

Neutral

4.05

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what we found survey results1
What we found – Survey results
  • “Foundation in a core business discipline that could be used in any large organization”

Counsellors

ITM Students

3.82

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree

Neutral

4.00

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what we found survey results2
What we found – Survey results
  • “Factors that most influence a student’s choice to purse ICT related programs at college or university ”
  • Personal and Career Interests

Counsellors

ITM Students

4.3

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree

Neutral

4.0

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what we found survey results3
What we found – Survey results
  • “Factors that most influence a student’s choice to purse ICT related programs at college or university ”
  • Parents and Friends

Counsellors

ITM Students

3.5, 3.9

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree

Neutral

2.5

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what we found survey results4
What we found – Survey results
  • “Factors that most influence a student’s choice to purse ICT related programs at college or university ”
  • Teachers and Counsellors

Counsellors

ITM Students

3.5, 3.6

Strongly Disagree

Strongly Agree

Neutral

2.3

1.9

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what we found survey results5
What we found – Survey results
  • “For ICT programs students should have strong interests and capabilities in maths and sciences”
    • Counsellors 77% agree or strongly agree
    • ITM Students 52% agree or strongly agree

High School Student ICT Career Choice

what does this mean
What does this mean?
  • Students choose ICT programs because they are well paying and secure
  • Students make their own decisions based on their perceptions and interests
  • They may listen to parents and friends, but rarely to teachers and counsellors
  • Female students are more influenced by their parents than boys

High School Student ICT Career Choice

recommendations
Recommendations
  • Speak and work directly with students
  • Emphasize to students the earning potential and opportunities to pursue business careers from ICT foundation
  • Encourage math studies, but be cautious about expecting top-of-class performance
  • Encourage students to study business in high school
  • Communicate directly with parents and students emphasizing the potential and earning prospects in ICT

High School Student ICT Career Choice

1 speak and work directly with students
1. Speak and work directly with students
  • Industry and academic representatives should be directly in front of and communicating with students
  • Messages from the source will be more credible if not interpreted by teachers and counsellors

High School Student ICT Career Choice

2 emphasize the earning potential and opportunities to pursue business careers from ict foundation
2. Emphasize the earning potential and opportunities to pursue business careers from ICT foundation
  • Students and their parents see ICT as a career that pays well
  • Industry and academics should discuss the compensation potential and compare to other professions such as engineering, accounting, and others
  • Discuss supply and demand trends
  • Discuss outsourcing and offshoring with facts

High School Student ICT Career Choice

3 encourage math be cautious of expecting top of class performance
3. Encourage math, be cautious of expecting top-of-class performance
  • Math is required, but top-of-class performance is not necessary for business oriented ICT careers
  • Women in particular should be encouraged that math should not be a barrier
  • Computer Science or Computer Engineering may require stronger math skills

High School Student ICT Career Choice

4 encourage students to study business in high school
4. Encourage students to study business in high school
  • Business is the overwhelming user of ICT
  • Students should have an understanding of how they will work in the context of the larger organization
  • Students may follow a career that begins in ICT and moves into other business areas

High School Student ICT Career Choice

5 communicate directly with parents and students emphasizing the potential and earning prospects
5. Communicate directly with parents and students, emphasizing the potential and earning prospects
  • Parents are the most likely external influencer
  • A fact based discussion regarding career potential, earnings potential
  • Bring facts to discuss offshoring and boom-&-bust nature of the industry
  • Young women are more likely to be influenced by their parents

High School Student ICT Career Choice

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Thanks !

High School Student ICT Career Choice