As the number of women surpasses men in the workforce, a recent Junior Achievement (JA)-ING poll found striking differences in the opinions of teenage boys and girls in what motivates them to excel on the job and what tools they consider important in determining career success.

Motivation to succeed stems from very different places for boys and girls. The JA-ING poll found that fewer girls than boys said they needed perks such as a promotion and raise (girls 38 percent, boys 56 percent), to excel on the job. When asked if they needed additional motivation to succeed, 40 percent of girls responded that they did not, while only 22 percent of boys said they needed no extra motivation. Also, when asked what would motivate them to take a less than ideal job, the poll found that fewer girls say they are motivated by a higher salary than boys, with 67 percent girl respondents saying they were motivated by a higher salary vs. 74 percent of boy respondents.

Boys and girls also had differing opinions on how to prepare for career success. While 85 percent of girls identified schools programs, such as job shadowing, that help develop work skills and prepare them for a career, only 78 percent of boys identified the above as important for career readiness. Furthermore, girls (68 percent) placed more value on mentoring and networking than boys (61 percent) in helping them get a good job.

"Despite some interesting gaps among young women and men, we're seeing that all teens are thinking very seriously about their career paths," said Jack E. Kosakowski, president of Junior Achievement USA. "Teens are telling us they want to channel this energy and invest in their future careers. Junior Achievement programs help kids reach their goals by providing them with positive career role models and with the tools to be successful in the workplace, such as leadership and teamwork skills."

As women start to outnumber men in the workforce, taking a look at what careers boys and girls aspire to can provide insight on whether this new workplace balance is here to stay. According to the JA-ING poll, girls are still lagging behind boys in choosing careers in math and science – only 10 percent of girls picked engineering and science vs. 19 percent of boys, and 2 percent of girls are pursuing careers in computers vs. 8 percent of boys. However, girls are choosing careers that are and will continue to be in high demand – 20 percent of girls want to be doctors vs. only 9 percent of boys, and 13 percent of girls are pursuing teaching vs. 4 percent of boys. Girls are selecting those jobs which tend to be more in demand, which should further tilt the employment scales in their favor.

For a full survey abstract, visit: http://ja.org/files/polls/kids_careers_2010-JA-ING-Teens-and-Career-Poll.pdf