The Influence Of Socio-Economic Status On Career Aspiration Among Senior Secondary School Students

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The Influence Of Socio-Economic Status On Career Aspiration Among Senior Secondary School Students


This research is on the assessment of the influence of socio-economic status on career aspiration among Senior Secondary School Students in Sokoto metropolis. This study was on some selected secondary schools in Sokoto metropolis. The study is descriptive in nature and uses Child’s Vocational Awareness Questionnaire (CVAQ) on students for career aspiration findings.

A total number of one hundred (100) students responded to the instrument. Contrary to the research, it was revealed that the development in the educational achievement of the students with a better possibility for better career choice is high and the level of education of the parent could be in form of motivation for child to aspire for better jobs in future. And that majority of the students now -a-days decide on their own career choices.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of content
  • List of tables’
  • Abbreviation (where necessary)

Chapter one:


  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problems
  • 1.3 Objectives of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypotheses
  • 1.6 Significance of the study
  • 1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the study
  • 1.8 Operational Definition of terms

Chapter Two:

Review of related literature

  • 2.0 Literature Review
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Conceptual framework
  • 2.3 Career aspiration as perceived by secondary school students
  • 2.4 Factors Determining Socio-economic Status and Career Aspirations
  • 2.5 The Implication of Counseling on Career Aspiration
  • 2.6 The Process of Making Career Choice
  • 2.7 The Importance of Career Guidance in Schools
  • 2.8 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.9 Summary and Uniqueness of the Study

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.0 Research Methodology
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Research design
  • 3.3 Population of the study
  • 3.4 Sample and sampling techniques
  • 3.5 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.5.1 Reliability of the instrument
  • 3.5.2 Validity of the instrument
  • 3.6 Administration of the questionnaire
  • 3.7 Data analysis

Chapter Four:

Presentation and analysis of data

  • 4.0 Introduction
  • 4.1 Parental Background
  • 4.1.1 Parental Education
  • 4.1.2 Parental Occupation
  • 4.2 Career Aspiration of Secondary School Students
  • 4.3 Factors Influencing Career Aspiration
  • 4.3.1 Family Influence
  • 4.3.2 Educational Influence

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.0 Introduction
  • 5.1 Summary of main findings
  • 5.2 Discussion
  • 5.3 Suggestions and Recommendations
  • 5.4 Conclusion
  • Reference
  • Appendix

List of Tables

Name of Tables Page

  • Table 4.1: Father Level of Education
  • Table 4.2: Parent Occupation
  • Table 4.3: Have you decided on your future career
  • Table 4.4: Occupations that the students wish to partake
  • Table 4.5: Influence of parents, teachers, books, ands friends
  • Table 4.6: Students Career Aspiration and Parental Occupation
  • Table 4.7: Parental Opinion and Career Aspiration
  • Table 4.8: Subject Offered in School
  • Table 4.9: Highest Level of Education Aspired by Student
  • Table 4.10: Career selected by the school
  • Table 4.11: Reaction of the society towards the aspired career
  • Table 4.12: Career aspiration and permission to work with people


  1. SES Socio-economic Status
  2. CVAQ Child’s Vocational Awareness Questionnaire
  3. CA Career Aspiration
  4. APA American Psychological Association
  5. O.A.U Obafemi Awolowo University

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the study

This study examines the effects of socio-economic status on the career aspirations for occupational preference of secondary school students in Sokoto metropolis. Several researchers have long recognized that occupational aspiration is influenced by socio-economic status (SES) of secondary school students in particular, the background of their families is especially important. McLaughlin, Hunt, and Montgomery (1976) found that SES affects the occupational and educational aspirations of female high school seniors, a finding in agreement with Empey’s (1956) study on males. Krippner (1963) studied students’ occupational preferences and their parents’ occupational levels using Roe’s (1956) occupational scale and found that the occupations students liked to enter were related to the status of their parents’ occupational level.

According to Uche (1994) children from parents with high socio-economic status are likely provided with high quality private education from nursery up to university level. Given this opportunity, it is likely that such children will be less delinquent than their counterpart from lower socio-economic background. However from an empirical study by Coughin and Vuchimah (1996), there is a relationship between family socio-economic status and juvenile delinquency. Female secondary school students tend to act out as a result of low level of support from their mother while boys tend to act out as a result of low level parental mentoring; however the study concludes that family structure is not a predictor of juvenile delinquency, low parental monitoring did seem to predict higher drug use, Dishon and Loeber (1985).

In another study on child rearing style and students’ dishonest behavior by Ajake and Bisong (2008), child rearing style is a function of family socio-economic status. Significant difference exist between respondents from autocratic child rearing family and those from democratic homes in lying, stealing and truancy, in each case autocratically reared subjects are more vulnerable to delinquency. Again a significant difference exist between subjects reared under democratic child rearing style and their counterpart reared under the laissez-faire rearing style in lying, stealing and truancy. In each case, those who are brought under the laissez-faire families are the more vulnerable.

Blau and Duncan (1967) and Duncan and Featherman (1972) showed a strong positive correlation between family SES and an individual’s occupational aspirations and attainment. Sewell, Haller, and Straus’ (1957) survey of secondary school seniors showed a positive relationship between SES and educational and occupational aspirations of young women. Sewell and Shaw (1967), in a later study, concluded that for women, SES has a greater effect than intelligence on selection of attendance to and graduation from college.

Okeke(1973) study of illiterate low class families in Nigeria found that their children expressed a desire to engage in better occupations and strive for better education than their parents. The traditional view that factors like age, sex, race, and socio-economic levels determine occupational expectations and attainment should no longer be a stumbling block to counselors. With more attention and support, counselors should be better able to help the low SES to maximize their potentials and capabilities. This does not insinuate an exclusion of the needed help to the high and middle SES.

Extrinsic reward was most significant to low SES. Olayinka (1973) also found that children with low SES view education and occupation as a means to better their status and economic conditions, while children with high SES view education and occupation as a means of entering into a profession similar to their parents.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In schools, most of the conservatism found in western education finds it root in most of instructional programmers. Programmes in most schools lack diversification to cater for all career choices of students, most students were left unguided and so are more prone to making unwise choices or no choice at all, until after schooling in most cases, however, students do not make wise choice of subject as a result of lack of sufficient information.

Left unguided, it has been observed that quite a number of students in secondary schools are ill informed of the labour market. They become nervous, worried and anxious. They finish secondary school with the feeling of inadequacy and frustration, they do not have in mind the jobs they want to do, based on this, they lack knowledge that the employers require as entry qualification, and they may not know that, there is a method of application for the job they wish to apply for. This is common because they do not possess the necessary educational and vocational information. Some people like to work in team, others preferred to work alone, vocational guidance must therefore take full account of all these likes and dislikes. Inadequate vocational information in secondary schools in Sokoto state, have left students to decide and pursue any course or job they could find whether or not it is in consonance with their interest, aptitude and ability. Some secondary schools in Sokoto state find it very difficult to organize or administer guidance and counseling programme for students due to lack of professional counselors. The school management which includes the Principal and the heads of departments are not motivating or educating the students to make use of the career masters where available. Moreover Sokoto state government in particular shows little effort towards recognition and establishment of guidance and counseling at professional level. Even in the few schools that possess career masters, their expertise is not fully utilized.

Kithyo and Petrina (2002) argue that boys schools tend to be more equipped and oriented towards science and technology. Boys in mixed schools are also encouraged to enroll and perform well in these subjects. Girls schools do not offer technology subjects such as engineering; instead they offer domestic sciences and secretarial subjects. By the time the students come to choose careers, they have internalized gender norms (Kithyo and Petrina, 2002). Research indicates that children from low-SES households and communities develop academic skills more slowly compared to children from higher SES groups (Morgan, Farkas, Hillemeier, &Maczuga, 2009). The school systems in low-SES communities are often under resourced, negatively affecting student’s academic progress (Aikens &Barbarin, 2008). There also exist the conflicts between the individual free choice of occupation and that of the Nations manpower needed, and there are also conflicts between individual choice, parents wish, and friend’s advice. Nigeria is moving from pre-industrial to an industrial country. Industrialization paved way to technological development which will increase the need for skilled human labour and will require all the power and more skill that can be obtained. Training children through education will make them be aware of these potentialities.

The focus of this study is therefore to make a critical examination of the influence of socio-economic status on career aspirations among secondary school students in schools of Sokoto metropolis.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This study aimed at finding out the influence of socio-economic status on career aspirations among secondary school students in schools of Sokoto metropolis base on the following;

  1. To find out the vocational/career aspiration of students in senior secondary schools in Sokoto metropolis.
  2. To find out the factors that influence senior secondary school student’s career aspiration.
  3. To find out if there is any relationship between parental occupation and their children career aspiration.

1.4 Research Questions

The major questions this study intends to address are;

  1. What are the factors that influence senior secondary school student’s career aspirations?
  2. What are the career aspirations of students in senior secondary schools in Sokoto metropolis?
  3. Is there any relationship between parental occupation and their children aspiration?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Based on the research questions, the following hypothesis will be tested:

  1. There is no significant difference between parental education and career aspirations of students from high and middle socio-economic status.
  2. There is no significant difference between parental education and career aspirations of students from high and low socio-economic status.
  3. There is no significant difference between the educational and career aspirations of students from middle and low socio-economic status.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study examines the effects of socio-economic status on the occupational aspirations and for occupational preference of high school seniors in Sokoto metropolis. Choosing a career is one of the hardest decisions to make in life. It is believed that the role of socio-economic status on career aspiration and education is important in the technological societies because the allocation of social position relies heavily on higher education; the better educational background, the higher position to be reached in office. With this condition, the need of higher educational level in Sokoto metropolis increase rapidly. Therefore, educational and career aspiration of senior secondary school students is an important phenomenon to be studied. We are going to outline this importance in regard to some related aspect that the study will be effective to.

It is hoped that the findings of this study will help the students in the sense that it can be used to provide information for maintaining student’s motivation in both academic and social integration to support career development during the child’s study. It can also help the student in the process of choosing a career of his choice.

It is hoped that this study will help parents to understand that their children already have in mind their desired career aspiration. What is left for them is to support and guide them financially, and give them motivational support for them to be able to attain their goal.

Society is associated with children vocational aspiration. Reviewing an extensive body of research, Watson and Mc Mahon (2005) concluded that children learn about the vocation by interacting with their social environment. This study might open the mind of the society and make them understand the career aspiration of their individuals which might trigger the society to support some less fortunate students in their educational development.

Schools and teachers sometimes shape perception about vocation. This study might help in letting the school and teacher to be aware of their student’s choice of career and to avoid any form of discouragement, rather the students should be encouraged and supported. This study will also state the importance of guidance and counseling which may persuade schools and teachers to introduce or re-establish their guidance and counseling services.

This study may help educational stakeholders in the process of employment that is their employment would be in form of merit and not randomly so as to maintain further expenses. They would be speared the trouble of training their new staffs.

It is hope that these findings will help the government to understand that students have their aspired careers, this may bring less expense of resources in educational prospects if the student is held within what they want to become in future. It is hoped that the findings can be used to examine the trend of educational career aspiration of senior secondary students of Sokoto metropolis.

1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study anticipates that some students may perceive this research as wanting too much from them. Therefore, the researchers, however, will try to minimize these anticipated limitations through convenient rapport with respondents and by seeking to make them understand the rationale of study and why they should participate.

The research will be delimited to some local Government in Sokoto State. Using five (5) public secondary schools which will constitute both female and male and co-education in the district, the students and teachers will be recruited as study participants in analyzing significant factors influencing their career aspirations. The students will constitute the study’s primary participants while teachers will supplement findings through guided interviews. On this foundation, the study will focus on the functional relationship between guidance and counseling, family background, and role modeling and career aspirations.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

i. SES:

Socio Economic Status.

ii. Socio-economic Status:

Is an economic and sociological combined total measure of person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social positionin relation to others.

iii. Career:

Is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”.

iv. Aspiration:

Is a longing for and striving after something higher than oneself or ones current status. Salawu(1993)

v. Career Aspiration:

This refers to the future ambition of an individual on the type of job he/she wishes to obtain in future.

The Influence Of Socio-Economic Status On Career Aspiration Among Senior Secondary School Students

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The Influence Of Socio-Economic Status On Career Aspiration Among Senior Secondary School Students


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2.1 Introduction

This chapter reviewed various areas related to the study. These areas are;

2.2 Conceptual Framework

Socio-economic status, the concept of career, the concept of aspiration and career aspirations

Socio-economic Status

Socio-economic status is an individual’s or group’s position within a hierarchical social structure. Socio-economic status depends on a combination of variables, including occupation, education, income, wealth, and place of residence. Sociologists often use socio-economic status as a means of predicting behavior (New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition).

Socio-economic status (SES) as defined in the Wikipedia, is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. When analyzing a family’s SES, the household income, learners’ education, and occupation are examined, as well as combined income, versus an individual, when their own attributes are assessed.

Socio-economic status is typically broken into three categories (high SES, middle SES, and low SES) to describe the three areas a family or an individual may fall into. When placing a family or individual into one of these categories, any or all of the three variables (income, education, and occupation) can be assessed.


Socio-economic status can also be referred to ones position in relation to the social and economic position of the individual’s parents. This means that parents occupied various social or economic positions among the groups in the society. These positions are sometimes being looked at in relationship to effective educational goal achievement, and other needs in life. On the other hand, gender can be defined as masculinity or femininity, taking into consideration biological, social and cultural norms. A person’s self -image as a male or female and the roles the person is attached to can be used as gender identity. It is a common assumption that, society and cultural factors exert influence on gender identity by defining roles for males and females and reinforcing appropriate behaviours, though gender roles is level inappropriate, gender has effect on student vocational behaviors, and play a great role in their vocational interest / aspiration.

Parents with low socio-economic status often lack the financial, social, and educational support that characterized high socio-economic status. Due to their poverty level these groups of parents may have inadequate or limited access to community resources that can promote and support children’s development and school readiness. Socio-economic status therefore, can be referred to such a position in relation to the social and economic stand of the individual’s parents occupying various positions among the groups in the society. Those positions are sometimes times looked at in relationship to vocational aspiration. Vocational aspiration therefore, can take its cue from the application of rational and systematic analysis to the aim of making vocational aspiration more effective and efficient in responding to the needs and goals of the students and society. Hurking (1972) studied a sample of 182 black and white adolescent from the working class to find out whether there was a significant association between socio-economic, structure and level of occupational aspirations. He found out that there were no such significant associations between the social variables.


The Concept of Career

Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. In this definition career is understood and relate to a range of aspects of an individual’s life, learning and work. Career is also frequently understood to relate to the working aspects of an individual’s life. A third way in which the term career is used to describe an occupation or a profession is that it usually involves special training or formal education and is considered to be a person’s lifework. In this case “a career” is seen as a sequence of related jobs usually pursued within a single industry or sector e.g. “a career in law “or”a career in the building trade”.

The etymology of the term “Career” comes from the French word ‘carriere’ (“road, racecourse”) which, in turn, comes from the Latin word ‘(via) cararia’ (track for wheeled vehicles) which originated from the Latin word ‘carrus’which means ‘wagon’ .

By the late 20th century, a wide range of choices (especially in the range of potential professions) and more widespread education had allowed it to become possible to plan (or design) a career: in this respect the careers of the career counselor and of the career advisor have grown up. It is also not uncommon for adults in the late 20th/early 21st centuries to have dual or multiple careers, either sequentially or concurrently. Thus, professional identities have become hyphenated or hybridized to reflect this shift in work ethic. Economist Richard Florida notes this trend generally and more specifically among the “creative class”.


The Concept of Aspiration

Aspiration is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”( 1992-11-27. Retrieved 2012-10-02).

An aspiration is a strong desire for high achievement and it is influenced by family background, and the ways in which family interacts, communicates, and behaves. Cooper, Arkelin and Tiebert (1994) defined aspirations as hopes and ambitions that influenced by intrapersonal and interpersonal factors. In this study, aspiration is replicate of student hopes in term of educational attainment, expecting position as government employee, expecting position as private employee, and career after finishing their study.

Olayinka(1973) defined aspiration as what an individual aims to accomplish, the occupational goals he hopes to attain as well as his self-fulfillment prophesy in job matter. It is the desires, determinations, and efforts to reach set of goals, educational or occupational. Salawu (1993) defined aspiration as a longing for and striving after something higher than oneself or one’s current status. Harlock(1973) saw aspiration as a longing for what is about, with advancement as its end. She explained further that it’s the goal an individual sets for himself in a task which has intense personal significance for him or her or which ego partially involved. One can therefore say that a person who aspires to better himself will be satisfied only when his achievement comes up to the goal he has set for himself.

Onyeanuna(1992) observed that maybe positive or otherwise. Negative aspiration reflects the desire to avoid failure such as the individual who is satisfied if he passes an examination. Positive aspiration on the other hand is oriented


towards the goal of achieving success, the example of which could be the individual who is satisfied only if does perform better than his class mates. Salawu (1993) opined that people need to be realistic in their aspiration and not aimed at the impossible this does not mean that they should lack ambition or set goals below the capabilities and capacities, instead, it means that setting goals within their potential and if their goals are realistic the chances for success are greatly increased.

The Concept of Career Aspiration

During adolescence, individuals begin to plan for their future career by considering a number of occupational choices. Counselors, parents, and educators may be better to assist adolescents in their exploration of occupational options, help them seek career-related information, and obtain support for their career plans by developing a greater understanding of adolescents’ occupational aspirations.

Career aspirations represent an individual’s orientation toward a desired career goal under ideal conditions. More simply stated, career aspirations “provide information about an individual’s interests and hopes, unfettered by reality” (Hellenga, Aber, & Rhodes, 2002, p. 200; Rojewski, 1996).

According to Notodihardjo(1985), students enter postsecondary school primarily because they want to get a job easily after graduation. After enrolling in a university, one of the following will happens; he or she will remain in his chosen field of study or he or she will switch to another program or university. It depends on how satisfied he or she is with the educational or training experiences during their first year of the study.

Also, parental educational background show significant differences when combined with vocational, academic and collegiate aspirations. For example, the higher the father’s educational background, the higher the vocational and collegiate


aspirations of the student; and the lower the father’s educational background the higher the academic aspirations of the student.

A career aspirations study of students was done by Smith and Carpenter (1975) by classifying twelve career/professions perceived by students as having a high economic status. These are private industries, private trade, medicine, state enterprises, law, university teaching, the military, political party work, religious institutions, civil service, secondary school teaching, and acting as a government attorney. A total of 554 students were selected in roughly equal proportion from three universities (Diponegoro University = 195 students; Hasanuddin University = 181 students; and Andalas University = 178 students). The findings showed that 28.3% of respondents indicated that they aspired to careers in the civil service;

21.4% indicated that they aspired to careers in medicine; and 12.0% aspired to careers in private industries. The lowest career aspirations expressed by students were being lawyers(1.7%) and political party officers (2.4%).

Dahlan et al. (1997) proposed five types of students’ aspirations to attain higher education in their study, namely: vocational, academic, collegiate, nonconformist, and politics. This research was employed in six universities consisting of four public universities and two private universities. In1992, using 561 students as a sample; the findings showed that there was a significant difference between student origin and three types of aspirations (vocational, academic and collegiate). Students from the rural areas are likely to have both higher vocational (F = 16.58; p <0.001) and higher collegiate (F = 5.17; p <0.06) aspirations than those from urban areas. Meanwhile, students from urban areas are likely to have higher academic aspirations than those from rural areas (F = 14.90; p <0.001).


2.3 Career Aspirationas Perceived by Secondary School Students

Career aspiration has been perceived in different ways. Senior school students are exception to this multiple ways of perception. There is the tendency for most of these students to rush into a job because the starting salary appears higher than that of most other jobs available to them, many of the students chooses a career because of the prestige people attach to that area (for example becoming a medical doctor, lawyer, pilot etc) not minding the trivialities therein. In any way, it is wrong to allow the starting salary to influence too much the choice of employment (Wokoli, et al., 1998).

Some students felt that an occupation which may seem interesting and adequately remunerative at the initial stage may in long run prove monotonous and offer insufficient reward and prospects. In the apprenticeship trade for instance, wages are often low, while the craft is been learnt, but those are determined to become qualified in them know that they will earn higher wages later and will have better chances of promotion and employment security (Okams, 1996).

Most of the students these days think of only career that will bring quick and much money that is why they are a lot of accountants, salary clerks and other job that deals with money, neglecting other fields. Those who find themselves in jobs other than these mentioned did so because they cannot be absorbed in these fields. One thing about career aspiration according to Kolo 1999 is that it spread across age. Even those about to retire in their present employment still wish they had employment in other agencies.

In a research conducted on the career choice and aspiration of science students Musa (1993) found that almost all the students did not know the school that offer causes of their career aspiration. Essay (1986) also conducted a study on


the academic and occupational aspiration of adolescents in the then former Sokoto State, the sample was randomly selected and most of them give preference for a career in medicine and engineering. Teaching at the universities or college level was the next aspiration much higher than business, nursing, custom service, primary school teaching etc.

2.4 Factors Determining Socio-economic Status and Career Aspirations

The following marks some of the factors determining socio-economic status and career aspirations of senior secondary school students.

i. Education

Education is the process of facilitating learning. Knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits of a group of people are transferred to other people, through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, or research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators. Wikipedia (The free encyclopedia)

Education plays a major role in skill sets for acquiring jobs, as well as specific qualities that stratify people with higher SES from lower SES. Annette Lareau speaks on the idea of concerted cultivation, where middle class parents take an active role in their children’s education and development by using controlled organized activities and fostering a sense of entitlement through encouraged discussion. Lareau argues that families with lower income do not participate in this movement, causing their children to have a sense of constraint. An interesting observation that studies have noted is that parents from lower SES households are more likely to give orders to their children in their interactions while parents with a higher SES are more likely to interact and play with their children. A division in education attainment is thus born out of these two differences in child rearing. Research has shown how children who are born in lower SES households have


weaker language skills compared to children raised in higher SES households. These language skills affect their abilities to learn and thus exacerbate the problem of education disparity between low and high SES neighborhoods. Lower income families can have children who do not succeed to the levels of the middle income children, who can have a greater sense of entitlement, be more argumentative, or be better prepared for adult life.

Research shows that lower SES students have lower and slower academic achievement as compared with students of higher SES. When teachers make judgments about students based on their class and SES, they are taking the first step in preventing students from having an equal opportunity for academic achievement. Educators need to help overcome the stigma of poverty. A student of low SES and low self-esteem should not be reinforced by educators. Teachers need to view students as individuals and not as a member of an SES group. Teachers looking at students in this manner will help them to not be prejudiced towards students of certain SES groups. Raising the level of instruction can help to create equality in student achievement. Teachers relating the content taught to students’ prior knowledge and relating it to real world experiences can improve achievement. Educators also need to be open and discuss class and SES differences. It is important that all are educated, understand, and be able to speak openly about SES.

ii. Occupation

A person’s occupation is their role in society. An occupation is an activity, often regular and often performed in exchange for payment. Many people have multiple occupations, such as those of parent, homemaker, and employee. A person can begin an occupation by becoming an employee, volunteering, starting a business, or becoming a parent. The duration of an occupation may range from an


hour (in the case of odd jobs) to a lifetime (in the case of some judges). The activity that requires a person’s mental or physical effort is work (as in “a day’s work”). If a person is trained for a certain type of occupation, they may have a profession. The series of occupation a person holds in their life is their career.

Occupational prestige, as one component of SES, encompasses both income and educational attainment. Occupational status reflects the educational attainment required to obtain the job and income levels that vary with different jobs and within ranks of occupations. Additionally, it shows achievement in skills required for the job. Occupational status measures social position by describing job characteristics, decision making ability and control, and psychological demands on the job.

Occupations are ranked by the Census (among other organizations) and opinion polls from the general population are surveyed. Some of the most prestigious occupations are physicians and surgeons, lawyers, chemical and biomedical engineers, university professors, and communications analysts. These jobs, considered to be grouped in the high SES classification, provide more challenging work and greater control over working conditions but require more ability. The jobs with lower rankings include food preparation workers, counter attendants, bartenders and helpers, dishwashers, janitors, maids and housekeepers, vehicle cleaners, and parking lot attendants. The jobs that are less valued also offer significantly lower wages, and often are more laborious, very hazardous, and provide less autonomy. Occupation is the most difficult factor to measure because so many exist, and there are so many competing scales. Many scales rank occupations based on the level of skill involved, from unskilled to skilled manual labor to professional, or use a combined measure using the education level needed and income involved.


In sum, the majority of researchers agree that income, education and occupation together best represent SES, while some others feel that changes in family structure should also be considered. With the definition of SES more clearly defined, it is now important to discuss the effects of SES on students’ cognitive abilities and academic success. Several researchers have found that SES affects students’ abilities.

iii. Income

Income is the consumption and savings opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expressed in monetary terms. However, for households and individuals, “income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests’ payments, rents, and other forms of earnings received in a given period of time(United States legal definitions).

Income can be looked at in two terms, relative and absolute. Absolute income, as theorized by economist John Maynard Keynes, is the relationship in which as income increases, so will consumption, but not at the same rate. Relative income dictates a person or family’s savings and consumption based on the family’s income in relation to others. Income is a commonly used measure of SES because it is relatively easy to figure for most individuals.

Income inequality is most commonly measured around the world by the Gini coefficient, where 0 corresponds to perfect equality and 1 means perfect inequality. Low income families focus on meeting immediate needs and do not accumulate wealth that could be passed on to future generations, thus increasing inequality. Families with higher and expendable income can accumulate wealth and focus on meeting immediate needs while being able to consume and enjoy luxuries and weather crises.


iv. Wealth

Wealth, a set of economic reserves or assets, presents a source of security providing a measure of a household’s ability to meet emergencies, absorb economic shocks, or provide the means to live comfortably. Wealth reflects intergenerational transitions as well as accumulation of income and savings. Income, age, marital status, family size, religion, occupation, and education are all predictors for wealth attainment.

The wealth gap, like income inequality, is very large in the United States. There exists a racial wealth gap due in part to income disparities and differences in achievement resulting from institutional discrimination. According to Thomas Shapiro, differences in savings (due to different rates of incomes), inheritance factors, and discrimination in the housing market lead to the racial wealth gap. Shapiro claims that savings increase with increasing income, but African Americans cannot participate in this, because they make significantly less than whites. Additionally, rates of inheritance dramatically differ between African Americans and whites. The amount a person inherits, either during a lifetime or after death, can create different starting points between two different individuals or families. These different starting points also factor into housing, education, and employment discrimination. A third reason Shapiro offers for the racial wealth gap are the various discriminations African Americans must face, like redlining and higher interest rates in the housing market. These types of discrimination feed into the other reasons why African Americans end up having different starting points and therefore fewer assets.


v. Environment

Environment literally means surrounding and everything that affect an organism during its lifetime is collectively known as its environment. In another words “Environment is sum total of water, air and land interrelationships among themselves and also with the human being, other living organisms and property” (

The environment of low SES children is characterized by less dialogue from parents, minimal amounts of book reading, and few instances of joint attention, the shared focus of the child and adult on the same object or event, when compared to the environment of high SES children. In contrast, infants from high SES families experience more child-directed speech. At 10 months, children of high SES hear on average 400 more words than their low SES peers.

vi. Neighborhood

The term neighborhood has many meanings and uses. For example, neighborhood can be used to refer to the small group of houses in the immediate vicinity of one’s house or to a larger area with similar housing types and market values. (

The neighborhood setting in which children grow up in contributes to reading disparities between low and high SES children. These neighborhood qualities include but are not limited to garbage or litter in the street, individuals selling or using drugs in the street, burglary or robbery in the area, violent crime in the area, vacant homes in the area, and how safe it is to play in the neighborhood. Low SES children are more likely to grow up in such neighborhood conditions than their high SES peers. Community support for the school and poor physical


conditions surrounding the school are also associated with children’s reading. Neighborhoods factors help explain the variation in reading scores in school entry, and especially as children move on to higher grades. As low SES children in poor neighborhood environments get older, they fall further behind their high SES peers in reading growth and thus have a more difficult time developing reading skills at grade level.

vii. School

A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, (Online Etymology Dictionary). Schools are in the most strategic positions to impact on career aspirations and expectations. This is mainly due to the existing school based resources such as vocational interest inventories and career seminars (Diemer 2007). According to Kniveton (2004), schools provide career information or career guidance directly or indirectly to influence students’ career choice behavior. School teachers can also identify aptitudes, abilities and encourage students to take certain subject combinations or take part in work experience. Dondo (2006) emphasizes that school culture can influence one’s career choice and aspirations since there are standards of performance which are set in each school leading to the choice of certain careers. This is also due to the curriculum that one is exposed to and the quality of career services available in the school.

2.5 The Implication of Counseling on Career Aspiration

Counseling is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate self-knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth and the optimal development of personal resources. The overall aim is to provide an opportunity to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully. Counseling relationships will vary


according to need but may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others.

The effective organization of guidance and counseling services in Nigeria cannot be a reality until the federal and state ministries of education are prepared to provide professionally trained guidance counseling, recognize their service in the schools and provide them with necessary incentives and equipments. The education organizational climate should be disposed to guidance counselors.

The usual assumption is that, a normal person may need guidance and counseling services if any of the characteristics below is noticed on him; unhappiness, inability to meet his needs, lacking in knowledge, information or skills cognitive error, excessive frustration and failure.

The counselor should be aware that it is a task to him to help the counselee to obtain and carefully apply missing information, knowledge or skills. The counselor deals with the counselee goals not his own. Therefore, the counselor has to find out what the individual student want to become in later life, then guide or counsel him on the right courses to offer at the senior secondary level. For example, a student that want to become a medical doctor should be told that his main courses should be sciences which include; Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. It is also the duty of the counselors to advice the particular student on what to do if he/she cannot perform up to expectation in science courses (Oladele 1989).

According to Wokili et al (1988), said that many students face a lot of problems in secondary schools when trying to choose a career especially where counselors are not available or rather available but insufficient. They suggest that


these problems should be noted and tacked by the federal and state ministries of education in other to cater for the students needs in career aspiration in preferences and choice.

2.6 The Process of Making Career Choice

The term career choice is a response that indicate the individual probably and realistic occupation. Kolo (1999), believe that an individual expressed assessment of his change of entering the occupation and being adjusted to it. By choice, the reality has been considered and this is why his choice is intent to go into a particular job. In a nutshell, it is the selection or picking up of career which one has the potentials of entering, Kolo (1999)

There are factors that influence career choice and they are categorized as “Organism response and stimulus” Crices (1971). There are what Shertzer (1935), called “force” and Kolo (1999) nickname them as operational variables. These variables include individual differences, ability, attitude, interest, sex, subject combination, personality intervention, family background, community, national man power need, ethnics, religious, and geographical location among others.

All these variables influence ones choice the degree of influence of each may depend on the individual and how active he or she is in the decision making process of his or her career. Kolo (1999) opined that were individual becomes too passive, there is the tendency of the choice to be unrealistic and unsatisfied.


The variables would be examined below with respect of their applicability to the socio-economic factor influencing senior secondary student:

i. Empirical finding have confirmed that to a greater extent, the family value and the socio-economic status of individual affect his career choice.

ii. School is seen as a significant agent of socialization where individual acquire various attitudes, knowledge and skills which eventually influence the career choice.

iii. The influence of religious affiliation on career choice and preference. This influence ones choice of friends, spouse, jobs and value about life.

iv. The rural/urban influence and career choice. Here student from urban school location are seen as a processing significance self-expressive, value and experience little external influence, and their choice of a career than those from the rural schools.

Other theories of career development and occupational choices include that of Caplow. He reviewed that evidence from sociologic research on occupation choice implies that; error and accident often play a large part that the subject himself is willing to concede. He further believed that; occupational choice is made at a time when the students are still remote from the world of work. They are made in terms of school requirements, which may call for quite a different ability and tastes from those which will be to the eventual job.


Occupation choice is a process that remains open for as long as one makes and expects to make decision about his work. As an individual goes through the process of career choice which leads to career aspiration, he may be faced with not personal problems plotted as a result of two important problems of individuals in decision and unrealism (Kolo, 1999).

The re-formulated theory therefore is that; occupational choice is a lifelong process of decision- making in which the individual seeks to find the optimal fit between his career preferences and goals, and finally the reality of the world of work (Kolo, 1999).

2.7 The Importance of Career Guidance in Schools

A popular saying in the field of educational guidance and counseling has it that; “what enzymes are to food; Guidance and Counseling is to Education”. This is obviously, the case with career guidance in Nigerian schools. For, if one of the aims of the 6-3-3-4 system is to use education as a tool for overall national development through employment needs, then career guidance must become the enzyme that will aid the digestion of educational benefits by individuals to realize such an aim.

Super and Crites(1962), asserts that career guidance is the process of helping an individual to ascertain, accept, understand and apply the relevant fact about the occupational world which are ascertained through incidental and planned activities.

Many activities can in fact be subsumed under career guidance in school activities or situation. These may include career informational services, organizing career resource activities, career convention activities, career club activities, career counseling and subjects’ choice particularly for students preparing for final


examinations. As Bojuwoye (1986), says; a primary concern of vocational or career guidance and counseling is the assistance offered to the individual in making decision and guidance and choice are necessary to affect satisfactory career adjustment.

In some vein, Bojuwoye (1986), was able to confirm his own studies and those of others, the need for vocational or career guidance in Nigerian schools. Some of the reasons put forward for such a need includes:

i. Unemployment syndrome in the large society.

ii. Manpower shortage in many relevant fields.

iii. Dwindling oil revenue resulting in non-assurance of immediate job opportunities opening-up.

iv. Under-utilization of some occupational fields.

v. Vocational mal-adjustment of students resulting from inability of many teachers to help students clearly perceive the world of work, unrealistic career aspiration by students and uncalled demands by parent for their wards to tread a specific career course.

2.8 Theoretical Framework

Individual difference exist among people, this has an effect on who the individual are and what they are capable of doing. What an individual does is sometimes at variance with his ability, attitude, capabilities and interest.

Socio-economic status (SES) as defined in the Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. When analyzing a family’s SES, the household income, earners’ education, and


occupation are examined, as well as combined income, versus with an individual, when their own attributes are assessed. Socio-economic status is typically broken into three categories (high SES, middle SES, and low SES) to describe the three areas a family or an individual may fall into. When placing a family or individual into one of these categories, any or all of the three variables (income, education, and occupation) can be assessed.

As defined by APA (American Psychological Association) socio-economic status is commonly conceptualized as the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income and occupation.

2.9 Summary and Uniqueness of the Study

In this chapter, both general and specific literature was reviewed. Similarly, the concepts of career, career aspirations, and the process of choice were reviewed and explained. Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. Scholars like Cooper, Arkelin and Tiebert (1994) defined aspirations as hopes and ambitions that influenced by intrapersonal and interpersonal factors.

The chapter also reviewed some of the socio-economic factors influencing career aspirations which includes; Family influence, Environmental influence, School Influence, family Wealth and income. Some studies also gave insight on the importance of career guidance in schools, where Super and Crites (1962), asserts that career guidance is the process of helping an individual to ascertain, accept, understand and apply the relevant fact about the occupational world which are ascertained through incidental and planned activities.




3.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the following areas were discussed;

Research Design, Population of the Study, Sample and Sampling Techniques, Instruments for Data Collection, Reliability of the Instrument, Validity of the Instrument, Method of Data Collection and Data Analysis

3.2 Research Design

This study is a descriptive research. Nwana (1981) refers descriptive research as a best method which include the use of questionnaire o interviews in the collection of data, the research would use the questionnaire to obtain information needed for the study to identify the strength the responses to various questions, percentage would be calculated and all data obtained would be analyzed. We decided to adopt this design because this it is competent in gathering people’s opinion. Kerlinger (1975) stated that description survey research is a useful tool for educational facts finding. Most importantly it has an added advantage of a wide scope thereby allowing in-depth information to be obtained from a large population. Another distinct characteristic of this design is that it allows the use of questionnaires and interviews in other to determine the options, attitude, preference and perception of people who are of interest to the researchers.

3.3 Population of the Study

The study is based on some selected secondary schools in Sokoto metropolis. Therefore, the populations of the study are 5 secondary schools. Random sampling method was used to select the 5 schools participating in the


study. We used random sampling method to select students from the 5 schools and twenty (20) students in each school.

3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques

The sample of the study was drawn from 5 secondary schools that have senior classes (SS3). Two (2) of the schools were girls only and another two (2) of the schools were boys only, while the remaining one (1) school was a co-education (mixed) school. The following schools were selected for the study;

1. Ahmadu Bello Academy Farfaru

2. Sultan Bello Secondary School

3. Army Day Secondary School

4. Hafsat Ahmadu Bello Arabic Secondary School

5. Nana Day Secondary School

The schools listed above were selected using purposive sampling technique, because all of them were in Sokoto metropolis. Salawu (1991) stated that; “the purposive selection of the schools is often sensible and simple to justify if within a population, there are some elements which the researcher believe are particularly crucial to his/her study, and the only way to ensure this is to deliberately select them. This is what we did in the selection of the five (5) schools.

3.5 Instrument for Data Collection

The instrument for this study was the Children Vocational Aspiration Questionnaire (CVAQ). This instrument was adopted from Dore (1980). Five items (26-30) were added to the original instrument.


The questionnaire was developed at the University of Ilorin, to measure students’ vocational aspiration when he worked on the relationship between students’ vocational aspiration and personal socio-economic status in Kwara State.

The questionnaire consists of the following;

A section that deals with the respondent’s personal data i.e the name of school, class, sex and age. Secondly, it deals with the information on the level of education of the respondents parents. And another section that deals with the subject the (students) offers in school and the person who influences their choice of subject as well as their career.The last section deals with the career the respondents will want to pursue at the end of their studies and what influence such aspiration.

Dore’s children vocational aspiration questionnaire has been used by various researchers in various researches such as Nwezeh (1996), Adeleke (1990), Aloa (1991), onyeanuna (1992), Naibi (1996) and Hannatu Abdullahi (2002).

3.5.1 Reliability of the Instrument

The reliability of an instrument reflects the consistency or trustworthiness of the instrument. The reliability of the questionnaire was established through pilot study using a test re-test reliability method.

The questionnaire was administered to a group of forty (40) students, Barakat community school, Ilorin. After on interval of six (6) weeks, it was re-administered to the same group of students. The scores in the first and second administration were subjected to person product moment correlation co-efficient and the index was 0.80 which was considered adequate enough.

Similarly, in this study the CVAQ was administered to a representative sample of the group and a kind of pilot study in Government Day Secondary


School, Arkilla. However, rather than using the test-re-test method the researcher used spilt half method after the test. The two scores were subjected to Persons Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient. The researchers will administer the questionnaire in the selective secondary schools in Sokoto metropolis. A total of 100 questionnaires will be administered to 100 students, from five (5) selected schools, and would be retrieved from the respondent and used for data analyses.

3.5.2 Validity of the Instrument

When an instrument is found to measure truly and accurately what it was meant to measure, it is said to be valid, and this questionnaire was given to test experts in the University of Ilorin, Ibadan and O.A.U Ile-Ife. The obtained independent opinion of the test ascertained content validity. The choice of items also ascertained what is regarded as face validity. Since the instrument had been used by different researchers and has been found to be both reliable and valid, we adapt this method (CVAQ) for the study.

3.6 Administration of Questionnaire

The researchers used two working days to administer the questionnaire; the questionnaire was administered to each of the 5 selected schools by the researchers themselves. The questionnaire was collected immediately after. The respondent responses to the items on the questionnaire form the basis for this research.

3.7 Data Analysis

For the purpose of data analyses simple statistical tool would be used. This is necessary because the data obtained is qualitative and fixed.



5.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the summary of the findings of the study. These finding are discussed, one after the other. Based on the discussion the researchers offered some recommendations and suggestions. It also drawn conclusion on the study.

5.1 Summary of the Main Findings

The main aim of the study is to investigate the influence of socio-economic status among Senior Secondary Student in Sokoto metropolis. The following are the summary of the main findings;

i. The higher the level of education attained by parents, the higher the career aspiration of the students.

ii. The development in the educational achievement of the students with a better possibility for better career choice is high and the level of education of the parent could be in form of motivation for child to aspire for better jobs in future.

iii. The parent would support and encourage their continuing education up to the tertiary level.

iv. Majority of the students now -a-days decide on their own career choices.

v. This study entails that the students, after completion of their studies, 30% of the students prefer Health related profession, while 15%, 12%, and 8% prefer engineering, law, and business profession. The remaining profession such as artist, politics, journalism etc. has 30%.


vi. Contrary to this research, it indicates that most students are not willing to take on their parent’s occupation as their future career.

5.2 Discussion

In the earlier part of the 19th century, Agriculture was the parameter used to evaluate the might of the nation and its citizens. But soon after the First World War, national development arouse on industrial development. Nigeria is not left behind in taking a bold measure for national development. The earlier practices of using all members of the family especially males for subsistence farming were abandoned; this necessitated the quest for western education without which mechanization would not be fully realized. Thus, this marks a turning point for education, because mere societies are now enjoying the socio-economic advantage of education. Education is now seen as a vehicle for upward social mobility especially the labour force.

An encouraging development discovered by the study was the higher level of education of most parents. This could be attributed to rowing awareness among parents and the populace that education is a vehicle for rapid social and economic development. One very interesting point the study revealed is the favorable attitude of the parents towards the careers aspire by the students. This is in agreement with the fact that the very high educational attainment on the part of the parents brought about awareness which result in to freedom for the students to choose a career different from their parents and as a result, acceptance of that career choice by the parents. Thus, this satisfies the expectation of alternatives, both educationally and occupationally.

This postulation can be said to be changing for good, since parents in this study now give children freedom to aspire to any career without stereotyping.


Furthermore, the researchers found out that the school did not play much important role in career choice of the students because the guidance and counseling unit in some schools are either ineffective or nonfunctional. These important findings underscore the significance of guidance and counseling in the school. Almost all the students did not know the schools that offer courses of their career aspiration. Because, they responded to a question in the questionnaire that they want study medicine in colleges, while they study arts in secondary school. Most of the students do not possess the necessary background to pursue the career of their choice. This study is in agreement with Naibi (1996), that parents have no direct influence on the children career aspiration, because parents now allow their children both male and females to aspire for any career of their choice. This may be because of the higher level of education attained by the parents.

5.3 Suggestions and Recommendations

1. Secondary school student’s career aspiration has to be encouraged and completed by the authority concerned. Teachers are to be employed and encouraged to teach in schools to make the students dream a reality. Furthermore, schools should encourage and reinforce the students aspiring for specific profession by organizing competition and activities to promote their field of study in schools most importantly, selection of students read to study a certain course should be based on merit. On the part of the government, it should provide fund to adequately equip the students, the teachers and schools with necessary teaching and learning materials.

2. Most of the students in this study aspired highest level of education, to achieve this in Sokoto; their aspired careers should be sponsored in form of incentives that should be given to hard working students who exceed to pursue a


unique aspired career. Since most of the parents under the present dispensation might not be able to afford to pay for the education of their children.

3. The confidence reposed on school by the parents can be reinforced by the improvement of guidance and counseling activities through;

i. Guidance and Counseling units in the school should be made effective and functional.

ii. An improved incentives for career masters in terms of guidance, personal welfare, imposed physical working condition, constant supply of informative materials related to career to broaden the search for career opportunity and allow the guidance masters to guide the students honestly.

iii. Parents should cooperate with schools and guidance masters who acquired the student’s performance and capability to assist their children to select appropriate career.

4. Non- interference of the parents in career aspiration of their children is said to be a positive development. Parents, teachers and society have a duty to encourage the students to achieve their desired objectives. The school must supervise the students and ensure that relevant courses are thought in school.

5. Students should be enlightened to discharge earlier negative perception imposed on them by society, peer groups, teachers, parents etc.

5.4 Conclusion

The study shows that the high premium of career aspiration or high profession is not in any way influenced by their parents; rather the choice was partly influenced by the student’s personal interest and ability. The study also shows that senior secondary school students are no longer interested in teaching as their aspired profession. Furthermore, students inspired for career different from their parents, given necessary support and encouragement by the parents, teachers and society with proper learning atmosphere.

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