Study: Parental Occupations Can Affect Job Choice

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They say the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. This is especially true when it comes to job choice.

According to General Social Survey data collected between 1994 and 2016, working sons are about 2.7 times as likely as the rest of the population to have the same job as their working fathers and about two times as likely to have the same job as their working mothers.

Daughters are about 1.8 times as likely to have the same job as their mothers and 1.7 times as likely to have the same job as their fathers.

The jobs most likely to be passed down include steelworker, legislator, baker, lawyer, and doctor, the study reported.

The Auld family follows this trend closely. Elizabeth Auld is an emergency medicine resident and her father is an orthopedic surgeon, the New York Times reported. Her two sisters followed in their mother’s footsteps by going to film school.

“I was looking for a way to do meaningful work, and seeing how much satisfaction he derived from the job made me see it was a profession I should be considering,” Auld told the Times.

It’s no surprise families have such a strong influence on job choice. They also influence college choice.

A 2015 study showed that one-fifth of younger siblings enroll at the same college as an older brother or sister. Younger siblings are also 15 to 20 percentage points more likely to enroll in four-year colleges or highly selective institutions if an older sibling did.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at adobson@nacacnet.org.

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