Data highlights a lack of exposure to key career fields and in-demand careers, due to the exposure gap keeping students at bay.

The exposure gap is blocking students’ ability to envision future careers


Data, examined from more than 500,000 aptitude assessments highlights a lack of exposure to key career fields

Key points:

Students have the aptitudes (or natural talents) for the nation’s most in-demand career fields–including healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and finance–but they are not inclined to pursue those occupations due to a profound lack of exposure, according to The 2024 State of the Future U.S. Workforce Report from tech provider YouScience, which aims to solve the skills gap crisis for students and employers.

The report includes analysis of anonymized data from more than 540,000 YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery assessments completed by U.S. middle and high school students across all 50 states in 2023.

In the assessments, students completed a series of science-backed brain games to discover their aptitudes, interests, and matching best-fit careers. The analysis found that:

  • 39 percent of students have an aptitude for careers in Health Science
    • A field where employment for jobs such as health information technologists and medical registrars is projected to grow 16 percent in the next decade
  • 32 percent of students have an aptitude for careers in Computers & Technology
    • A field where employment for jobs such as computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 23 percent in the next decade
  • 30 percent of students have an aptitude for careers in Agriculture & Natural Resources
    • A field where employment for jobs such as agricultural and food science technician is projected to grow 5 percent in the next decade.
  • 29 percent of students have an aptitude for careers in Advanced Manufacturing
    • A field where employment for jobs such as industrial engineers is projected to grow 12 percent in the next decade

While students possess the aptitudes for occupations in these key areas, the findings highlight a significant exposure gap that is preventing these students from pursuing education pathways toward those career fields:  

  • 75 percent more students have an aptitude for careers in Computers & Technology than interest
  • 66 percent more students have an aptitude for careers in Advanced Manufacturing than interest
  • 48 percent more students have an aptitude for careers in Agriculture & Natural Resources than interest
  • 43 percent more students have an aptitude for careers in Health Science than interest

“Our report highlights a crucial issue in education today: the exposure gap. Students have untapped potential for in-demand occupations but lack a clear understanding of their skills and how they align with careers. Failing to address this deprives students of valuable insights into their aptitudes and their connection to the evolving world,” said Edson Barton, Founder and CEO of YouScience. “In an era of rapid economic and technological changes, it’s essential for students to grasp their full range of abilities. This understanding empowers them to confidently prepare for the future and pursue specific career pathways. It also enables our society to make education and career opportunities more equitable for all students.”

The findings of The 2024 State of the Future U.S. Workforce Report also prove that students –regardless of gender and race– have the necessary aptitudes to fill the skills gap plaguing many industries today and well into the future. Key takeaways include:

  • 87 percent more female students have an aptitude for careers in Computers & Technology than interest
  • 73 percent more Black students have an aptitude for careers in Advanced Manufacturing than interest
  • 69 percent more Hispanic students have an aptitude for careers in Computers & Technology than interest
  • 54 percent more male students have an aptitude for careers in Health Science

This press release originally appeared online.

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