A report has been published entitled ‘Drawing the Future’ – and it does exactly what it says on the tin!
The report is the culmination of the research carried out by the collaboration between the charity Education and Employers, TES, UCL – Institute of Education, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). And the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Education and Skills.
Drawing the future, the biggest survey of its kind ever conducted, asked primary school children aged seven to eleven to draw a picture of the job they want to do when they grow up. Over 20,000 entries have been received from UK and Internationally.
So exactly what data this impressive amount of research uncover?
The survey began by asking the children:
- Their gender
- Their ethnicity
- Favourite subject
- Did they know someone who had done that job?
- Why had they chosen to draw that particular job?
By gathering this wider range of data, the research has been able to add a new depth.
General findings of the report
- The most popular job for children in the UK was Sportsperson, with 21.3% drawing it as the job they would like to do when they were older.
- Health careers also featured highly, with Doctors, Nurses and Health Visitors featuring high in the list.
- STEM careers received a boost, as they were placed very high on the list of jobs drawn. Vet, Scientist, Engineer, Doctor all came in the top 11.
- A pattern that has emerged, is a shift in the aspirations of the children. This shift has been led by the arrival of methods of communication e.g. social media. So, YouTuber, Vloggers etc features highly. These are obviously roles that children are aware of and are experiencing in their day-to-day lives.
Findings on gender
- Overall, and depressingly, work-based gender stereotypes seem to be already deeply entrenched by the age of 7.
- The number of boys who would like to become an Engineer is four times greater than girls, where the number of girls who would like to become a Doctor is 2.5% greater than boys.
- Nearly nine times the number of girls want to become Teachers, which the report has suggested that this may be from the gender of the Teachers they see, which is primarily female in primary schools.
How pupils are influenced by their social background
The survey has found that pupils who are in higher deprivation schools, boys are more likely to become an Engineer, Manager and Lawyer compared to girls. However, in less deprived schools, girls are more likely to become an Architect, Engineer or a Vet.
There are also some barriers to entry for certain careers for boys – which are being an Author, Actor and Singer. These creative careers have more boys from less deprived schools being interested into these careers and trying to break down these barriers!
Where did the pupils get their future career ideas from?
- The report has found that pupils are influenced firstly by their family i.e. their parents and older siblings. Having an older sibling starting in a career they may like to do themselves, this might be the motivation they need to succeed.
- Some young people have also found aspiration from watching TV and Films. This might be why Actor/Actress was in the top 20, along with social media and gaming careers.
General findings internationally
- The most popular career by gender is very stereotypical. Boys often want to have careers in the Police and Armed Forces compared to girls wanting a career in Teaching.
- Internationally, boys enjoy hands on careers like Engineers and Scientists. Whereas girls would like a more caring role working as a Nurse or Vet for example.
- For all countries apart from Australia and China, maths and science are the top two subjects for both male and female.
It is also interesting that children who live in developing countries have higher aspirations, where being a Doctor or Teacher would be their dream job. Compare this to children in developed countries, who would like a higher status career within a celebrity culture. This means that both boys and girls in developed countries would like a career as a Sportsperson or in social media such as a Youtuber/Vlogger, where children could be heavily influenced by their idol.
What is needed to help in the future?
It seems that intervening at an early stage is the best idea to help raise the children’s aspirations as much as possible. The report has shown that if volunteers come and speak to the children about their job role, this may help them to make a more informed decision as to what they want to do later in life. Having the volunteer speak about their experiences and their route into the job may give a fresh meaning to the subjects they may want to study when they are older, giving them the motivation they may need to take charge of their future!