Study finds a mismatch in teenagers’ job aspirations

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Too many teenagers are aiming for careers where jobs are in short supply. A major survey of 11,000 youngsters aged 13 to 16 has found a “massive mismatch” between pupils’ career aspirations and the realities of the jobs available.

Too many teenagers are aiming for careers where jobs are in short supply. A major survey of 11,000 youngsters aged 13 to 16 has found a “massive mismatch” between pupils’ career aspirations and the realities of the jobs available.

It showed, for instance, that a third of today’s 15 to 16-year-olds are interested in just 10 occupations. These include jobs perceived to be glamorous, such as acting and sport, and professions like teaching, law, medicine, accountancy and psychology.

A fifth of 15 to 16-year-olds have ambitions to work in culture, media and sports – a sector which is predicted to have less than three per cent of new and replacement jobs in the years up to 2020.

However the 10 least favoured professions include well-paid roles (jobs earning above the average UK salary of £21,473), such as surveyors, personnel and HR managers, and speech therapists.

The Nothing in Common report, published by the Education and Employers Taskforce and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, also suggested that the youth labour market is not signalling to young people the opportunities that are available.

“As a country we are doing our young people a huge disservice if we don’t give them enough information to allow them to make proper informed decisions about their futures,” said Nick Chambers, director of the Education and Employers Taskforce.

“This report highlights the massive information gap between what young people know about the careers and opportunities open to them and the actual jobs that exist.

“Far too many young people are having to make vital and incredibly important decisions about their futures without enough access to good and reliable information.

“We need to ensure that young people have access to high quality, impartial, professional careers advice backed up by first-hand insights into the world of work.”

Nothing in Common: The career aspirations of young Britons mapped against projected labour market demand (2010-2020) can be downloaded at www.educationandemployers.org/media/18037/nothing_in_common_final.pdf


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