1.1 Background to the Study
Choosing a career is an incredibly vital choice that influences an individual's entire future. Navin (2009) has recommended that exploring career choices before committing to a career increases future career success and complete fulfillment. Sociologists stress the forces in our society as the significant factor of career choice. Some think about the birth right of the individual as a most substantial factor in career choice since it establishes the family, race, nationality, social class, residential area and to a large degree the educational and social opportunities for the person. Sociologists suggest that the variety of professions that an individual will think about in choosing a career is identified mostly by the condition expectations of the social course to which he belong (Friesen cited in Sani, 2017).
In recent times, there has been growing interest in the interrelationships between career choice and peer group influence. More significantly the focus has been on the variables that enhance an individual towards a career. The success of children as they grow up has constantly been credited to extreme peer group influence. The young adolescent in school is expected to set high aspiration in him/herself and to work to the accomplishment of those objectives. children are made to become aware of the prestige that accompanies successful career choice.
Peer pressure describes the influence exerted by a peer on a person to change his/her mindset and values in order to conform with the norms of his/her group (Kirk, 2000) while many educators think that peer pressure has an impact on children's academic performance, Kirk (2000) observes that few studies have been done to prove this believes. Peer pressure is likewise specified as when people of the same age group motivate or advise each other to do something or to keep doing something else, regardless of if the person personally wish to do it or not (Ryan, 2000). Peer influence is likewise known as peer pressure and it includes changing one's behavior to satisfy the perceived expectations of others (Burns and Darling, 2002). Generally, many adolescents comply with peer pressure on relatively substantial things like music, clothes or hair styles, when it pertains to more values, parents still remain more influential than the peer group (Black, 2002).
In the absence of proper career support and teacher mentorship, students turn to peer mentorship. According to Njeri (2013) and Okiror and Otabong (2015) in Kenya, students rely on peers that have comparable experiences for mentorship, information and guidance on career issues, particularly when other appropriate opportunities like school career guidance are not properly efficient. In Kenya, Koech et al. (2016) emphasised the effect of peer mentorship in students' choices of professions. Nevertheless, in United Arab Emirates (Ausman et al., 2013), peer mentorship was discovered to have little effect on medical students' choices of careers. Ausman et al. (2013) examine focused on a certain group of individuals that were already training for a particular career, while the present study took a look at students who are yet to engage in a career.
Peer relationships were likewise discovered to be influential in students' choices of careers. Kiuru (2008) purports that, in Finland, peer group members who are closely related are most likely to end up in similar educational trajectories as they are most likely to accept opinions from members that are similar to themselves. Kiuru (2008) additional specifies that peer group members resembled each other, not just in their educational expectations, however likewise their subsequent academic trajectories. In a Nigerian study by Bankole and Ogunsakin (2015), peer relationships were disclosed as a significant factor in helping students select careers. Pakistani students that were close to each other in regards to friendship were likely to influence each other to take certain careers (Naz et al., 2014).
Alika (2010), Ho (2006) and Obwoge and Kibor (2016) espoused that peer motivation was discovered to be a crucial factor in influencing American students' choice of careers. This is according to Bandura's social cognitive theory, which specifies that realistic motivation results in higher effort and ultimately to higher success. Since high school students are adolescents, they might rely on people of their own age.
Hashim and Embong (2015) concur that the student's peer group is the single most powerful source of influence when it comes to career choices. Adolescents are quickly affected by their peers since they rely on their friends to provide validation of the choices that they make, including career choices. A variety of challenges were raised regarding the efficiency of peer counselling in schools. Chireshe (2013), for instance, cited lack of training amongst peer counsellors, and Kamore and Tiego (2015) enumerated that failure by Kenyan peer counsellors to deal with their own problems impacted adversely on their responsibilities as peer counsellors.
In contrast to earlier findings, it was observed in America that there was no significant relationship between peer group influence and career choices in humanities amongst secondary school adolescents (Alika, 2010). Peers were discovered to be less likely to affect high school students in choosing careers. The American study just focused on students that were in humanities. The present study did not look just at students specialising in a certain category but all secondary school students in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In recent times, there has been growing interest in the correlations between career choice and peer group influence. More notably the focus has been on the elements that enhance an individual to a career. The success of children as they mature has constantly been an issue of intense peer group influence. The young adolescent in school is expected to set high aspiration in him/herself and to work to the accomplishment of those objectives. Furthermore, children are made to become aware of the prestige that accompanies successful career choice. All these are issues that should be considered, knowing fully well that the place of secondary education cannot be over highlighted in the academic advancement of a Country.
To the very best of the researchers' understanding and available literature, there is no adequate readiness into the world of work by most secondary school students in Nigeria as a result of that students are not properly driven and prepared right from schools. They do not know their very own capabilities, interests, aptitudes and values. These situations result in frustration, such victims go down from school and end up roaming the streets or constitute public nuisance (Nyarko-Sampson, 2013). It is in line with the above observation that, that this seeks to examine influence of peer pressure on career aspiration of secondary school students in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Objectives
The purpose of the study was to find out the influence of peer pressure on career aspiration of secondary school students in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
i) To identify ways in which peers influence students’ career decision-making.
ii) To examine parental influence over career choice selection of secondary school students in Nigeria.
iii) To understand the types of peers who have an impact on students’ career decision-making.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions for this study include:
i) What are the ways in which peers influence students’ career decision-making?
ii) Is there any parental influence over career choice selection of secondary school students in Nigeria?
iii) What are the types of peers who have an impact on students’ career decision-making?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The followings are the research hypotheses for this study:
i) There is no significant relationship between peers’ influence and students’ career decision-making
ii) There is a significant correlation between parental influence and career choice selection of secondary school students in Nigeria
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study may be of significance to school principals, career masters and teacher-counsellors, as it may reveal the factors that influence career aspirations of girls. Such information could be of use while planning career guidance programmes. The study may reveal where the principals and teachers in secondary schools fail to capture the interest of girls in various subjects, especially the sciences. The study may be of significance to stakeholders at the Ministry of Education so that they can come up with policies to help the education institutions to curb the problem.
The findings will help parents in comprehending their role in guiding students to select life careers. The parents may understand the impact of their actions whether done consciously or unconsciously on student career choice. The findings may thus motivate parents to encourage student autonomy with clear guidance on career selection. The Joint Admission Board is responsible for putting students in various careers in public university at times they consider the academic grades as opposed to the ability and passion of the student in career matters. The study findings may thus assist them and other education policy makers in placing students in their respective careers. Scholars who may be interested in career related studies may find the findings beneficially with regard to reference. Study gaps may also be explored further by future scholars.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study was conducted in the West Senatorial District of Lagos State. Variables investigated include: influence of peer pressure on career aspiration of secondary school students in Nigeria.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The study was carried out in secondary schools in West Senatorial District of Lagos State. Due to financial constraints and shortage of time, only a few schools in the division were covered, and therefore findings of the study cannot be generalized to the entire country. The study was also limited by the fact that some students had chosen subjects which were not in line with their career aspirations due to external factors, for example where the school does not offer subjects related to a given career.