Making your own future. Expectations and occupation choice

Ezequiel Tacsir


The choice of a university career has a major saying in the future earnings and career opportunities of the individuals. In turn, prospective university students make their decisions mainly motivated by expectations of future rewards. Hence, understanding career choices requires, first, to be able to understand the expectations that students have. Second, it is necessary to increase our knowledge about the timing and the source of information about wages and other forms of rewards. Taking these prerequisites into account, this paper attempts to increase our understanding of the motivations that students have and the perceptions they form when confronted with the occupation choice. Based on a survey to prospective university students in Argentina we will first show how a seemingly homogeneous population exhibit different perceptions and goals. Secondly, we explore the influences and sources of information and actions that these individuals have used to decide their future specialization. Finally, and referred to the occupation rewards, we show that it is possible to aggregate individuals according to their motivations, showing that it is necessary to include in our analysis information and expectations about aspects different from future income streams. This will prove to be of fundamental importance in the attraction of students to technical and scientific related disciplines.

JEL codes: J44, J48, J24.

Keywords: Occupational Choice, Professions, Public Policy

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872