Following analysis of data gathered from the career and skills choices of some 600,000 users of CASCAID’s online careers programs, we have been able to take a glimpse into what interests and motivates the young people of today
So, what will the future hold for today’s young people? With job roles such as train driver, chef and engineer dropping in the popularity stakes, it is interesting that young people are continuing to explore more traditional professions, with lawyer, doctor and police officer making the top three most explored careers. The reasons behind the exploration of these careers is unclear, however a few motivators could be:
- Using ‘obvious’ careers as a starting point
- Curiosity around these careers
- Improved social mobility encouraging young people from a variety of backgrounds to think differently
- Parental pressure to choose a ‘known’ career path
Another potential factor influencing the careers young people explore could be the fact that schools have become more responsible for careers provision. This has seen a growing number of teachers, rather than careers guidance professionals, responsible for careers advice. Could a symptom of this be that teachers have knowledge about a less diverse range of careers and are passing this on to their students?
Remaining unchanged for the last five years are the work activities that young people want to do. Across the top 20, activities involving interacting with others feature highly, including teamwork, giving advice and understanding people’s feelings, views or behaviour.
Conversely, the features that young people are least interested in include dealing with paperwork (1), working in an office (3) and working with financial information (4). With a growing demand for skilled employees in STEM careers, including engineering, manufacturing, construction and IT, it is perhaps worrying for future skills that an interest in buildings, structures and their construction (2) as well as using maths to solve technical or scientific problems (8) feature in the top ten least desired aspects of work.
However, hope can perhaps be taken from the fact that while STEM-related tasks make up over half the top ten least desired work activities, they are in fact moving down the rankings, with using maths to solve technical or scientific problems dropping from fifth place last year to the number eight spot this year.
Perhaps a way to engage young people in STEAM-related subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) is for the careers guidance they receive to make a clearer link between these subjects and potential careers.
STEAM subjects are essential as they develop critical skills, however if young people do not recognise their importance, they may be reluctant to study them further which could hinder future career options.
Careers such as computer games designer, animator and graphic designer for example, all make the top ten of the careers young people are most interested in, yet they each require STEAM-related skills.
Broadening young people’s view of particular industries may well be the key to encouraging them to consider a wider range of roles. While computer games designer is known to them, jobs in programming and coding are not, yet these may fit their interests and learning profile.
The latest report does indicate that young people have a reasonable level of maturity and self-awareness around their development needs. The skills young people feel they need to improve on, such as safely using machines/ equipment as well as maths, mirror some of the skills that employers feel young people lack.
Building on these gaps in core workplace skills may very well aid a young person’s transition from education to the world of work.
Featuring highly in both the most explored (9) and most interested in (1) charts is press photographer. This may well be a career choice borne of the times; not only are young people inundated with media imagery but taking (and sharing) photos via social media is a regular activity. Again, this choice may indicate that young people are opting for careers that are known and familiar.
With careers guidance and exploration beginning in year 8 and a growing Ofsted emphasis on targeted and tailored careers guidance, it is interesting to note the interests of KS3 students. Our data shows a marked decline in the interest young people have in STEM subjects between KS3 and KS4. While half of the most popular subjects at KS3 are STEM-related (with maths taking the top spot), STEM work activities remain stubbornly unpopular by the time they reach KS4. This is a pattern seen in previous years.
While younger students also indicate an interest in traditional careers such as lawyer and doctor, high-profile careers including actor/ actress and sports professional also make the top ten.
CASCAID’s Interim Chief Executive, Annette Wade said of the findings, “Our data provides an insightful snapshot into the thoughts and ambitions of today’s young people. While the data shows young people take their future seriously and are motivated to succeed, STEM-related aspects of work continue to be unpopular. Addressing this trend is likely to become a pressing concern as the skills gap continues to deepen.”
To view the full report visit http://www.cascaid.co.uk/news/news_articles/career-aspiration-mis-match/. For more information on Cascaid’s range of innovative, impartial careers guidance programs, call the team on 01509 226868.