Perhaps thanks to the coronavirus, many kids might have a newfound respect for doctors and nurses.

We adults love to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, and sometimes the results can be pretty telling of the times. For example, a survey of 1,021 done this year of male and female sixth graders in Japan, aged around 11 or 12, revealed that more kids are interested in medical professions than before. Could that be because the pandemic has impressed upon them the importance of medical professionals?

The survey, conducted by Kuraray, a company that manufactures and sells the materials used to make Japanese school bags, asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. The results were split up between boys and girls, but for both groups, medical professions seemed to rise in popularity. For example, 6.5 percent of boys answered “doctor”, which puts it at the second most popular profession. That’s one place higher than last year, and three places higher than 2018.

Though not a medical profession, in third place for boys was “Carpenter/Craftsman”, which in 2019 was ranked sixth, and in 2018, sixteenth. Perhaps, with everyone staying at home watching more DIY shows on television and YouTube than ever before, young boys are being inspired to create things with their hands.

The top ten most desirable jobs for boys were as follows:

1. Professional athlete (16.7 percent)
2. Doctor (6.5 percent)
3. Carpenter/Craftsman (5.4 percent)
4. Researcher (5.2 percent)
5. Engineer (4.4 percent)
6. Police officer (3.8 percent)
7. Company employee (3.3 percent)
8. (Tie) Game creator (3.1 percent) / Builder/Construction worker (3.1 percent)
10. (Tie) Teacher (2.7 percent) / IT worker (2.7 percent)

In previous years, “game creator” ranked much higher on the top ten list, which has also included “government worker” and “working in the sports industry” in the past, but “professional athlete” has been the top choice for boys for the last three years, though with steadily declining popularity.

▼ “Company employee” also ranked in the top ten. Who would have thought?

For girls, though, the picture was a little bit different. The top most desirable job for sixth grade girls was “nursery school teacher”, which is in line with the trend for girls to want to work with children. Like the boys, however, the second most popular job was in the medical field, but rather than aspiring to be doctors, 6.4 percent of the girls aspired to be nurses.

More medical fields appeared on the top ten list for girls than boys, in fact. “Doctor” ranked at number four, and “pharmacist” at number five. The top ten list also included “veterinarian”, though that might not be related to the current state of world affairs, and “working in the medical field” hovered just outside the top ten at the eleventh spot.

“Nurse” grew in popularity among sixth grade girls by one rank from 2019, while “doctor” jumped up all the way from ninth place, and “pharmacist” from fourteenth. Undoubtedly the pandemic has left the impression on young girls and boys about the importance of those who work in the medical field.

The top ten jobs that sixth grade girls wanted to aspire to were as follows:

1. Nursery school teacher (7.0 percent)
2. Nurse (6.4 percent)
3. Patissier/Baker (6.1 percent)
4. Doctor (5.7 percent)
5. Pharmacist (5.5 percent)
6. Teacher (5.3 percent)
7. Manga artist/Illustrator (5.2 percent)
8. Beautician (4.8 percent)
9. Veterinarian (4.4 percent)
10. Zoo/Amusement park employee (4.2 percent)

▼ There were some girls who wanted to be professional athletes, too!

The results seem to indicate an interesting gender divide regarding the professions. Several professions appeared on the girls’ lists that don’t appear on the boys’, but girls did also choose many of the professions the boys did, including “professional athlete” (fourteenth place), and “police officer” (nineteenth place), so perhaps Japanese perceptions of gender roles are changing in small ways.

It’s also nice to see that kids in Japan are dreaming of more varied ways to live their lives, considering that four years ago the top answer to a similar survey was “businessperson”. But it’s also interesting to note that desires change as kids get older, too–though not necessarily for the better.

Source: PR Times
Top image: Pakutaso

Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3, 4)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]