Changing career interests

When you were younger, what career did you want to do when you ‘grew up’?

Your answer will depend on a number of factors, including your age. The reason that I say this is because we see career interests changing over time.

Thousands of young people use our careers guidance systems worldwide on a daily basis. Over time this has given us a unique insight into how career interests change.

I’ve recently taken a look at the top careers that young people using our guidance tools in the UK are interested in now compared to what people were interested in five years ago.

In the 2008/9, the top 10 careers that users of our programs were looking for information on were:

  1. Design Assistant
  2. Police Officer
  3. Doctor
  4. Fashion/Advertising Photographer
  5. Press Photographer/Photojournalist

In 2003/4, the top 5 were:

  1. Solicitor
  2. Teacher
  3. Doctor
  4. Psychologist
  5. Actor/Actress

One of the biggest changes over the past few years, has been the growth in popularity of creative careers. In 2008/9, half of the careers in the top ten were creative careers including Fashion Designer at number nine and Animator at number ten. None of these careers appeared in the top ten five years ago.

The only career to hold its popularity position is Doctor at number three, however other careers concerned with the health and welfare of people including Psychologist and Nursery Nurse, have decreased in popularity.

Interestingly, Police Officer has increased in popularity from number six in 2003/4 to become the second most popular career. Other law related careers have not fared so well. Solicitor and Barrister (number nine in 2003/4) have dropped out of the top ten, however Legal Adviser is at number eight in the 2008/9 top ten.

The only other career in the top ten in 2003/4 which increased in popularity was Accountant which rose from number ten to number seven.

So what influences these changes in career popularity?

The careers that appear in the media undoubtedly have an influence on young people however maybe not as much as many think. Some commentators have suggested that the ‘X-Factor Generation’ all want to be popstars, footballers or another kind of celebrity. What we see, is that when you give young people the opportunity to explore virtually every career, and most importantly, when you enable them to compare different careers with their own interests and skills, they find realistic occupations which they can aspire to.

You can take a look at the complete top ten’s on our website by clicking here.

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