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TOPIC: Determinants of Career Choice among Secondary School Students in Osun State



Background to the problem

Choosing a career is not like choosing an orange from a basket. According to Weiler
(1997) Successful career seldom happen by chance with very few exception, people who really
get what they want in a career do so because they define their objective plans and schedules for
achieving their objectives, and assume personal responsibility for implementing and following
these plans. Education is universally recognized as the answer to socio- economic problems of
the world. Nations and individuals look up to education to provide a cure for poverty, ignorance,
drought, excessive rainfall, mental deficiency, joblessness, bad government, poor communication
system, hunger and inadequate shelter among other things (Salami, 2013). According to
Scholars, every nation of the world aspires towards quality of life and social status. Career
selection is one of many important choices students make in determining future plans. This
decision will impart them throughout their lives. The essence of who the student is will revolve
around what the student want to do with their life- long work (Salami, 2013).

Brown (2002) describes the process of choosing a career as one of estimating ones
ability and values, estimating the skills and abilities required for success in a given occupation,
and estimating the work values that will be satisfied by the various occupational alternatives
available. Parents, teachers, the society and the government as a whole recognize the need for
proper career guidance and development. Ferry (2013) reports that career choices are pivotal
points in adolescents' lives. Each individual undertaking the process of choosing a career is
influenced by many factors, including the context in which they live, their personal aptitudes,
and educational attainment (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, &Pastorelli, 2001).Muraguri, (2011)
states that an individuals choice of career is likely to be influenced by several factors including
personal and cultural values, family background, career expectations and career guidance. Some
also make career decisions by taking the path of least resistancefor example, following a
career path advocated by their parents or following in the footsteps of an elder sibling (Carlos,
2009). According to Kerka (2000), Career choice is influenced by multiple factors including
personality, interests, self concept, cultural identity, globalization, socialization, role model,
social support and available resources such as information and financial constraints.
Students require guidance in order to make the right career choices (Maina, 2013).
McQuerrey (2007) states that positive or negative parental influence shapes ones career. Many
children grow up idealizing the professions of their parents. For instance, according to Maina
(2013), if a child looked up to his/her mother and admired her teaching skills, this may influence
that child to pursue a career in education. Parents may also intentionally or unintentionally push
a child towards a particular career path, especially in the cases of family-owned businesses,
where parents expect their children to take over the company. Still other parents apply pressure
on their offspring to strive for particular high-profile careers, feeling they are encouraging their
children to reach high. Fisher and Griggs (1995) identified six factors that may affect the career
planning and development of students: parental influence, the influence of friends or peers,
teachers' influence, ethnic-gender expectations, high school academic experiences and self-
efficacy and negative social events. The college years are a crucial time for career-related

Parental support and encouragement are important factors that have been found to
influence career choice. Children may choose what their parents desire simply to please them
(Taylor, 2004). Poole, Langan, Fox, Gavarella and Omodei (1991) found that children are
influenced by their families work values, attitudes and behaviors and as a result parents are often
the primary source of children's work values and attitudes. Wilson and Wilson 1992) found that
college students and young adults cite parents as an important influence on their choice of career.

Ipaye (1986), Makinde and Alao (1987), Dukku (1988), Salawu and Bagudo (2000) have
revealed in various ways that gender is another significant factor that influences career choice,
and have found in their respective studies significant differences between male and female in
choosing a career. According to Maina (2013), Secondary school students tend to understand that
there are jobs for males and there are others for females. This perception is due to ineffective
vocational guidance. These research findings indicate that gender has effect on vocational
interest as students try to make career choice, they face problems of matching their career
choices with their abilities and academic performance (Korir, 2012). In most cases, the choice of
careers, subjects, and courses of study and the subsequent career paths to follow are a nightmare
for prospective undergraduate students (Issa and Nwalo 2008). Career choice is a complex
decision for students since it determines the kind of profession that they intend to pursue in life.
According to Carlos (2009) understanding the reasons that lead to the choice of career is
important because that decision establishes expectations for ones future and may affect ones
satisfaction with the career.

Statement of the Problem

Many students find it difficult to make choice in the sense that they lack guidance and
counseling, making their choice without the help of any person. Several works have been done
based on the determinant factors affecting career by students. Shertzer and Stone (2003)
discovered that the element of interest and ability are the basic factor influencing students in
their choice of subject in the General Certificate of Education Examination and Eventual choice.
According to scholars, lack of interest can always lead to low efficiency. Developing interest in a
subject goes a long way to enhance a very high performance in any examination. As a result, a
good choice will help one achieve the necessary goals in one`s chosen subject and career.
Mitchell (2003) cited the problems of career choice to be compounded by the present state of the
country; inadequate professional or qualified teachers in various secondary schools to offer
career guidance to the students.

Investigation on the factors influencing student`s choice of science subjects for the
General Certificate of Education (G.C.E) was carried out by Ayozie (2005). In his findings, he
came out in finding the factors with decreasing order of magnitude as follows; intellectual ability
and achievement; occupational preferences, interests, needs and value; influence from teachers;
influence from parents and relations and influence from peer group and friends. Several studies
show that students all over the world are usually faced with a dilemma in making a career choice
decision in their lives (Issa and Nwalo 2008; Macgregor 2007; McMahon and Watson 2005). In
his study of career choice of Nigerian youths, Salami (1999) found that many youths made
wrong career choices due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, advice from friends, parents
and teachers, or as a result of prestige attached to certain jobs without adequate vocational
guidance and career counseling.

Abin (2001) studied the pattern of academic aspiration of Nigerian adolescent and found
out that many adolescent choose different profession without proper consideration of their
individual abilities. His investigation also shows that age and sex has substantial effects on the
largely unrealistic choice of academic and occupational pursuit. This agrees with the findings of
Olayinka (1999), who found out that youths were enticed to choose subject simply because it has
a high financial benefit or large measure of prestige attached to it. He also noted that many
females were making in road into certain fields that were formally regarded as man`s domain
such as Engineering, Medicine, and Geology. Hence, Okafor (2012) cited that generally, the
choice of a career is influenced by parents, friends and counsellors. Variations occur from one

population to the other. In Nigeria, every secondary school student (SSS) makes their career
choice before sitting for West African Examination Council (WAEC). The result of this final
examination determines who joins University. This is because admissions are determined by
grades obtained from it which will lead to life-long career. When these students graduate from
the universities, some of them enter into occupations that are totally different from the ones they
had chosen and training for. The aim of this study is to determine how gender, home background,
peers and role models influence choice of career among secondary school students in Nigeria.

Purpose of the study

This study is aimed at examining the determinants of career choice among secondary
school students in Nigeria. The objectives of engaging in this study are:

1. To determine the influence of family factors on career choice among secondary school
students in Osun state.

2. To determine the influence of peers on career choice among secondary school students in
Osun state.

3. To determine the influence of role models on career choice among secondary school
students in Osun state.

4. To determine the influence of gender on career choice among secondary school students
in Osun state.

Research Questions

1. How do family factors influence career choice among secondary school students in Osun

2. What is the influence of peers on career choice among secondary school students in Osun

3. How do role models influence career choice among secondary school students in Osun

4. How does gender influence career choice among secondary school students in Osun

Scope of the study

The essence of this research work will be to primarily study determinants of career choice
among secondary school students in Nigeria. The research intends to focus on Secondary School
Students in Osun state, Nigeria for easy analysis of data. The scope of this study will be limited
to specific variables of the study that influence career choice among secondary school students in
Nigeria. These variables include: Parental influence, Peer influence, role models and gender
influence on career choice. Questionnaire will be used as an instrument to collect data.

Significance of the study

This study will be very important as it will enable universities globally utilize the results
to form a basis for proper information and training during secondary school open days before
students join the senior secondary school of learning. The results of this study will be of
significance to the Government of Nigeria as it will unearth the factors that influence students to
choose specific careers therefore forming a basis for proper information, education and
communication among secondary school students in Nigeria.

The study will also be significant and the findings would benefit every stakeholder in
education. The results of this study will be of significant importance to various departments of
guidiance and counselling in various schools and organizations in Nigeria as this will determine
the intervention strategies that can be put in place in order to ensure that sponsored students
make informed decisions regarding their career. This research will also benefit non-governmental
organizations that fund students programs as this will necessitate capacity building among the
students and their significant others. Scholars and academicians will find the results of this study
helpful as it will form a basis for further research.

Operational definition of terms

Determinants: factors that decisively affects the nature or outcome of something.

Career: This is a profession that involves special training or formal education. It is an

individuals' journey through learning and working.

Choice: an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

Career Choice: Selection of a course of study which leads to a specific profession according to
ones interest, passion and ability as influenced by factors such as parental factors, peers, role
models and gender.

Gender: These are socially constructed and culturally variable roles that men and women play in
their daily lives that distinguish between male and female.

Peer influence: Persuasion of friends to make a choice regarding a specific career.

Role models: people who have had great influence in the lives of the students such as high
school teachers and child development workers.

Students: These refer to students in secondary school level from JSS 3 SSS 3.