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A Case of Female Candidates in Pakistan - Effect of Parental Influence on Children's Career Choice

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Effect of parental influence on children's career choice: (A case of female candidates in Pakistan)

  1. Preamble

According to Melamed (1995) the term career is normally used as the experience and work-related roles of employees in an organization. Nevertheless, education scholars like Ashbay and Schoon (2010) refer this term as the students’ choice for career path during their higher education. Career development, for most people, is an enduring process of choosing among employment opportunities available. Numerous researcher like Bandura et al., (2001), Cherian (1991), Issa and Nwalo (2008), Macgregor (2007), McMahon and Watson (2005), and Watson et al., (2010); in their research discovered that students usually got bewildered when making career decision in their lives. Bandura el al. (2001) affirmed in his research that each individual undertaking this process is influenced by many factors, including the context in which they live, their personal aptitudes, and educational attainment.

The emerging trends are witnessed in the developing societies. World is getting more informed and independent but important decisions like career selection of children is still dependent on the socializers, specifically family and parents. The new generation is privileged by parents in terms of financial resources, role models and occupational guidance. However, Saleem et al., (2014) stated that all these factors are limited to the parents’ experiences.

  1. History

Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. Educational conditions are very depressing in Pakistan where majority of the girls are never enrolled in school. The situation is especially alarming in rural areas due to social and cultural barriers.

In addition, Pakistani parents favor the education of their sons over their daughter’s education, because they think that boys are the future bread earners of their family while they have low hope for their daughter’s success. Owing to all these circumstances, majority women are unaware about the fact that they can also play an important role in the development of the country.

Education in Pakistan was considered as a fundamental right of every citizen, according to article thirty-seven of the Constitution of Pakistan, but gender discrepancy is still evident in the educational sector. According to the Human Development Report of year 2011, prepared by United Nations Development Program, approximately twice as many males as females receive a secondary education in Pakistan, and public expenditures on education amount to only 2.7% of the country’s GDP.

The situation improved in 2015, as written in an article by Wanisharukh (2015), literacy rate was 45.8% for females, while for males it was 69.5% (aged 15 years or older, data for 2015). The school drop-out rate among girls is also very high (almost 50 percent), but the educational achievements of female students are healthier as compared with male students at different levels of education. The education level in Pakistan is improving rapidly for women. As evident in the Lahore city there are total 46 public colleges out of which 26 are female colleges and among the rest of 20 colleges some of them are offering co-education. Similarly the public universities of Pakistan has female enrollment more than boys.

  1. Background

According to the Piagetian theory, as mentioned in research of Angela et al., (2004), a child starts making his career at the age of minor. Career selection in emergent economy like Pakistan has remained a query in the society. The belief regarding such emerging societies is that students have no option rather than to obey their parents’ studies-related decisions, resulting in the students’ future career choice. This belief is accepted due to the fact that students have limited knowledge to make the decision regarding their future. Students also have limited funding opportunities for their higher education. Parents being the sole financers, advisors, they are assumed to have major impact on the students’ decision regarding higher studies and their career choice.

Career choice often perceived to be an individuals’ own choice; research conducted by Ferry (2006) suggests that a variety of influences such as family, school, community, social, and economic factors are likely to impact the final career decision. Among these factors Kniveton (2004) research indicates that students reported their parents have the greatest influence on which career they choose. Ashby and Schoon (2010) also accentuate a well-documented and proven linkage between the parental influences and the children’s career aspirations in the developed societies.

Parental influence upon their children‘s career decision is consistently important, even across gender and racial lines. As indicated in Ferry (2006) research schools, peers, and community all have an impact on the young adult‘s self-identity and career choice, where parent‘s perception and expectations of vocational fit for their children was found to be the key cause in shaping children’s career choice. In the study of Creamer and Laughling (2005), parental influence was so strong as to override the influence of teachers, advisors, and career counselors, who may better acquainted with a wide range of career options but are not much trusted by students because of the believe that these people don’t know them personally.

  1. Research Problem

Parental influence may present opportunities or obstacles during career exploration of girls. Therefore, the research is conducted to explore the parental role in the career inspirations among the female candidates of Pakistan.

  1. Research Question

This research is an attempt to answer the following questions:

  1. Do students hold knowledge of the career they are trying to pursue?
  2. Which parent is more influential in children’s career decision?
  3. Does gender discrimination regarding profession still prevail in Pakistan?
  4. Do Pakistani female candidates desire to follow their parent’s profession?

  1. Research Objectives

The specific objectives of this research are:

  1. To discover whether students possess the knowledge of their career.
  2. To ascertain which parent influence their children’s career decisions the most.
  3. To examine the impact of gender discrimination on career choices.
  4. To determine whether students desire to follow parental profession.


  1. Limitations

Following are the limitations to this research:

  • This research is a Non-funded project, and therefore can’t be conducted on a mass scale.
  • The data collected cannot be generalized as the research is conducted on small sample and considered students from limited number of colleges of Pakistan.
  • The Time period for this research is only 6 months. This creates an obstruction for the research to be conducted on a mass scale.

  1. Scope

The scope of this research is narrow as is only restricted to female candidates of Pakistan with age limit from 18-24 years. This study focuses on how a parent impacts the student’s career inspirations and their future goals.



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