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Stats in Brief October 2020 NCES 2021-056
U.S. Department of Education
A Publication of the National Center for Education Statistics at IES

How did 2009 ninth-graders in 2016 rate the importance of various aspects of a job compared to earnings when choosing a job?

The high school freshman class of 2009–10 were 21 or 22 years old in 2016. At this point, they were asked to rate the importance of six aspects of a job compared to salary when choosing an occupation: contributing to society, autonomy in deciding how to get work done, geographic location, job security, work/personal life balance, and working with a team.

Over half of 2009 ninth-graders (between 52 and 59 percent) rated each aspect of a job as equally as important as salary (figure 6) in 2016.

More than twice as many cohort members in 2016 rated job security and balancing work and personal life as more important than salary compared to those who rated geographic location or working on a team as more important than salary (44 percent and 39 percent, respectively, versus 18 and 17 percent, respectively). Three aspects of future jobs were selected for additional consideration by expected career field and comparable importance of salary: job security, contributing to society, and working with a team. These three considerations of aspects of a job were selected because they include a range of values on the importance of salary (figure 6).


Figure 6. Ratings of importance of selected aspects of a job compared to salary among 2009 ninth-graders in 2016

Figure 6. Ratings of importance of selected aspects of a job compared to salary among 2009 ninth-graders in 2016

Note: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Second Follow-Up.


Across all occupational categories, at least 93 percent of young adults who were ninth-graders in 2009 said job security was equally or more important than salary (figure 7) when asked about this in 2016.

Approximately half of 2009 ninthgraders in 2016 who planned to pursue a job in business and management (50 percent), education (50 percent), healthcare (50 percent), military and protective services (51 percent), STEM fields (49 percent), or trades and technical occupations (48 percent) rated job security as more important than salary (figure 7).


Figure 7. Importance of job security compared to salary, by 2016 planned job industry at age 30 of 2009 ninth-graders

Figure 7. Importance of job security compared to salary, by 2016 planned job industry at age 30 of 2009
ninth-graders

Note: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error represents more than 30 percent of the estimate.
NOTE: Arts and entertainment includes arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations. Education includes teaching, education, training, and library occupations. Healthcare includes healthcare practitioners and technical and healthcare support. Service includes food preparation and serving-related occupations, personal care and service, and community and social services. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and includes computer and mathematical architecture and engineering, and life/physical/social science occupations. Trades and technical includes installation, maintenance, and repair; production; transportation and material moving; farming, fishing, and forestry; and construction and extraction. Other includes legal occupations; building/grounds cleaning and maintenance; sales and related occupations; and office and administrative support occupations. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Second Follow-Up.


Among all career fields considered, those planning on going into arts and entertainment by age 30 had the lowest percentage prioritizing job security over salary (35 percent).

Overall, one-third of 2009 ninthgraders in 2016 (33 percent) said that contributing to society was more important than salary (figure 6). The percentage of 2009 ninth-graders in 2016 who rated contributing to society as more important than salary ranged from a low of 22 percent for young adults who expected to work in trades and technical occupations to a high of 64 percent for young adults who expected to work in education (figure 8).


Figure 8. Importance of contributing to society compared to salary, by 2016 planned job industry at age 30 of 2009 ninth-graders

Figure 8. Importance of contributing to society compared to salary, by 2016 planned job industry at age 30 of 2009
ninth-graders

NOTE: Arts and entertainment includes arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations. Education includes teaching, education, training, and library occupations. Healthcare includes healthcare practitioners and technical and healthcare support. Service includes food preparation and serving-related occupations, personal care and service, and community and social services. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and includes computer and mathematical architecture and engineering, and life/physical/social science occupations. Trades and technical includes installation, maintenance, and repair; production; transportation and material moving; farming, fishing, and forestry; and construction and extraction. Other includes legal occupations, building/grounds cleaning and maintenance, sales and related occupations, and office and administrative support occupations. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Second Follow-Up.


Cohort members planning on going into education at age 30 were the only group where more than half of the respondents prioritized contributing to society over salary. Cohort members planning on going into healthcare, military and protective services, and service careers prioritized contributing to society over salary at rates of 43 to 46 percent. Young adults from the cohort considering business, trades and technical, or other job industries prioritized contributing to society over salary at rates below 40 percent.

Recall from figure 6 that 17 percent of cohort members in 2016 said working with a team was more important than salary, and 29 percent said it was less important than salary.

About a third (32 percent) of cohort members who planned to have a career in military or protective services at age 30 prioritized working with a team over salary considerations. Those planning on working in education or in the trades and technical fields at age 30 prioritized working on teams over salary considerations at 20 and 24 percent rates, respectively (figure 9).


Figure 9. Importance of working with a team compared to salary, by 2016 planned job industry at age 30 of 2009 ninth-graders

Figure 9. Importance of working with a team compared to salary, by 2016 planned job industry at age 30 of 2009
ninth-graders

NOTE: Arts and entertainment includes arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations. Education includes teaching, education, training, and library occupations. Healthcare includes healthcare practitioners and technical and healthcare support. Service includes food preparation and serving-related occupations, personal care and service, and community and social services. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and includes computer and mathematical architecture and engineering, and life/physical/social science technicians. Trades and technical includes installation, maintenance, and repair; production; transportation and material moving; farming, fishing, and forestry; and construction and extraction. Other includes legal occupations, building/grounds cleaning and maintenance, sales and related occupations, and office and administrative support occupations. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Second Follow-Up.