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November 8, 2010 / W. Stanton Smith

China, India – the reality is not optional

On November 2, 2010 a Tom Friedman piece appeared in the New York Times entitled “Do Believe the Hype.” He wonders: “what if for all the hype about China, India and globalization-they’re actually underhyped”? Friedman speaks with the benefit of extensive travel to these two nations.  Having not traveled to China or India, I can speak with some expertise based on research conducted by the Institute for the Future that compares Chinese, Indian and USA youth (ages 14-24). The research project which I had responsibility for  covered expectations of employers, career aspirations, use of technology and views on the attractiveness of various career alternatives. Extensive discussion of the results are found in my soon-to-be-released book, “Decoding Generational Differences: Changing your mindset…Without losing your mind.” This blog posting will touch on a little known fact that will affect USA competitiveness for years to come.

Chinese and Indian youth favor business careers much more than USA youth do

Business careers such as business administration, banking/finance, consulting, accounting, are considered very\somewhat exciting professions in a range from 37% to78%. by Chinese and Indian youth. In comparison the same range is 16% to 31% for USA youth…not much passion for business here.

Further, the top 3 careers considered very\somewhat exciting are the same in both China and India: business administration, IT and banking/finance. In comparison for the USA  the top three are: medicine/health care,teaching and law. Business adminitration is a distant fifth  and banking/finance is  a very distant seventh. Interestingly we were advised not to have Law as career choice in India and China as “these careers are not that well known or appealing”.

So what?

There is a decline in both interest and passion for business in USA young people at a time when peers in two huge competitor nations have surging interest and passion for business. We as a nation need to focus attention of why this gap exisits and what can be done about it.  It boggles my mind that 64% of youth surveyed in China find banking/finance to be very\somewhat interesting versus only 22% of  USA youth surveyed. Here we have youth in a nominally communist nation with nearly three times the level of interest in a  career critical to a capitalist economic system such as in the USA.

What do you think?

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