Many 15-year-olds in LAC countries are struggling to form clear career expectations, with those who do largely concentrating on a narrow range of professional jobs. Family background – both socio-economic status and parental education – and expectations have an impact on skills development for girls and boys alike.
School career guidance is patchy across the region, with 15-year-olds less likely than those in the OECD to have had the chance to explore potential career options with employers, or gain valuable experience through part-time work, internships, or volunteering. Career guidance, where it is provided, is mainly optional, and differences in access to such provision are related to socio-economic status (SES). Students from the lowest SES quartile in Brazil are 66% less likely than their most advantaged peers to have spoken to an adviser, compared to 14% in Panama and 33% in Costa Rica 33%.
Women in the region generally have lower economic returns (livelihood income) to their literacy skills than their male peers. Latin American countries have much higher teenage pregnancy rates than the OECD average, and this is especially the case for girls with lower reading skills. Women of all ages are also much more likely to be single parents than men.
The report provides some useful examples of career interventions for school students that can be found in OECD countries worldwide.