While most Hong Kong youngsters dream of becoming a business executive, the often maligned teaching profession has received a boost in a new youth survey. An Institute of Education study found youngsters would most like to enter business, while their second and third choices are government executive and teacher. And in the respect stakes, teachers came a noble third, after doctors and firemen. Describing the result as 'very encouraging', the institute's head of planning and academic implementation, Dr Lai Kwok-chan, said it showed many youngsters still adhered to traditional values and considered teachers played an important part in nurturing youngsters. Students also were attracted to the profession's relatively favourable conditions of service and job security. The survey, conducted between January and March, asked 1,238 Form Seven students to select from 20 occupations the five they most wanted to join and the most respected. The 50.8 per cent interested in joining the teaching profession were asked to select statements indicating the reasons for their choice. The main reason was 'the desire to teach subjects I like', followed by 'meaningful job nature', 'better job security' and 'desire to help others'. Legislator Cheung Man-kwong, who is also president of the Professional Teachers' Union, welcomed the findings. 'In recent years society has criticised the education sector and teachers. But this survey shows the teaching profession remains a popular career,' he said. It showed students had a deeper understandings of teachers' work from their own school experiences. The survey found that for the 49.2 per cent of students not interested in joining the teaching profession, the main factor given was 'not fitting my personality', followed by 'educating children/teenagers requires too big a commitment' and 'frequent changes in education policies'. Dr Lai urged the government to be more cautious when introducing reforms in order to provide a stable career for young people.