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Israeli Kids' Career Choices: Medicine and Science

Israeli kids are twice as motivated to become doctors as are kids elsewhere
By David Lev
First Publish: 9/20/2012, 7:06 PM

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That old saw, “my son (or daughter), the doctor,” is alive and well in modern Israel. A report published this week by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that more kids in Israel hope for a career in medicine than in any other OECD country. A total of 14.3% of 15 year olds in Israel said they wanted to go into the medical field when they grew up, the highest rate among all 34 OECD member countries, and double the 7.4% OECD average for youths planning a career.

In addition, the motivation among Israeli girls to enter the medical field is higher than the average for girls around the world, and significantly higher for girls than for boys in Israel. One out of four 15-year-old Israeli girls are planning a career in medicine or an allied profession, as compared to one out of five girls on average in OECD countries.

Besides medicine, science and research are also preferred career paths for Israeli youths. 45.1% of all Israeli 15 years olds want to work in the sciences, the fourth highest among all OECD member nations, behind only Chile, Portugal, and Mexico – and one slot ahead of the U.S. The average for all OEC countries in this area is 33.2%.

Perhaps surprisingly for the “start-up nation,” the numbers of Israeli youths who see themselves as working in the computer or high-tech field are lower than the OECD average. Only 15.6% of Israeli 15 year olds plan a career in high-tech, ranking Israel 22nd among all OECD countries, where the average is 18.2%. The most tech-oriented country is Poland, where one third of all 15-year-olds seek to enter high-tech.