Factors that Influence Career Choices

Why do people opt for careers in which they do? For example, why would a person choose to be a plumber as compared to a surgeon? There are different reasons leading to why a person pursues the career in which they do. Some of these factors are positive, hence positively affecting their work-life while some of them are negative thus affecting their work-life negatively. Here are a few of the factors that determine career path choices.

Hobbies, talents and skills

What a person likes to do also plays a big role in picking the right career. A person may be more inclined to bake for a living because this is what they enjoy doing and what they are good at. Making your big decision based on this is a great way to go because it may offer you higher chances of enthusiasm going to work every day. When you do what you are good at, chances of struggle are very minimal. There is a very high chance that you will love your job if you make your career based on something you enjoy.  Imagine being paid to do something you love? Ask yourself today, what are my interests, my talents, my abilities? Are they high enough to sustain a career?

External Influences

The people you grow up around also influence your career choices greatly. These could be your mentors, teachers, coaches, family members and friends. Perhaps one of your role models is a very successful engineer. You would also long to have the same ‘fate’ and for that reason, you begin to aspire to become an engineer. A word of caution; positive influences are detrimental in your life but you should always be self-aware before letting other people influence your decisions. Who says you might not end up being more successful than that engineer if you picked your own career choice?

Personality types

A person’s personality also influences their life path in terms of career choices. For example, a person with an inquisitive personality may gravitate towards more scientific careers to quench their thirst for knowledge since this will enable them to be more investigative. In addition, people with more confidence and loud personalities may lean towards careers that enable them to use their voice more. For example, these people may enjoy careers in law or public speaking because their personalities enable them to do just that. Doing a job that aligns with your personality makes it more enjoyable and easier since its requirements come as second nature to you.

Financial Aspect

This is a huge factor that plays a part in a person’s decision when it comes to career choices. This is because many people want a job that would deem them financially stable and sustain their lifestyle. For instance, one may want to become a doctor because they deem the doctors' pay to be high. However, picking a career based on its pay might NOT be the right way to go because the chances are, one could end up in a career that does not suit them at all which will definitely make Mondays a lot more depressing. Choose a career that suits you, that you are good at, and money will follow you!

Affordability also plays a huge role. You may love a certain career, or qualified for it but cannot afford to pursue it. This makes one choose what is available even though they may not like it.


As much as personal factors affect the career choices people make, external factors such as where a person resides affects this greatly as well. This can affect career choices due to the availability of jobs in the area, the remoteness of the area and the types of industries in the area. For example, a person living in a metropolitan area will have a wide range of jobs to choose from since this is a busy area. However, a person living in a rural area might be deprived of these opportunities because not many businesses have been set up in this area. We are now living in a global economy and this can easily be overcome.

Entry-level requirements

Last but not least, entry-level requirements also matter when choosing a career. This factor is largely influential because some jobs need certain credentials that others do not need.  Your academic level and qualifications may hinder or boost your chances of getting certain jobs.  For example, to pursue a career in engineering one might need good grades in Chemistry, Physics and Math because a good knowledge of these subjects is needed to thrive in an engineering career. A person unable to meet certain requirements may be unable to be an engineer until these requirements are met. For this reason, they may opt for another related career of which they have credentials or even go back to school and study to get these credits.

The zero factor in all these is self-awareness which gives you a starting point. Taking a Career and College Readiness course may help a great deal! This is an online transitional course for youth leaving high school into life after high school. The course is designed to impart skills to anyone aspiring to join tertiary education or any post-secondary training locally or internationally and other post-high school options available. It is able to answer questions like; Who am I? What next after high school?  What are the different types of post-high school options? What is College success? What if I don't go to college? The course takes Four (4) Weeks and has interactive activities to enrich your learning experiences. It helped me discover unlimited possibilities!

Sign up for the course here:

Mugure Waithaka is a 1st-year student taking English and Creative writing.

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