Magnified Learning hits the headlines with research findings about young people’s career perceptions
17 10 2011
To coincide with last week’s youth unemployment figures, we published findings from research we carried out with over 1,100 young people about their career aspirations in other industry sectors. The survey was picked up by a range of publications and resulted in an interview on Radio Two’s Drivetime slot provoking lots of live debate about our future workforce.
Following the success of our project with the CII to positively impact the negative perceptions of school leavers about a career in insurance, we undertook a survey with school students across 4 regions about their career aspirations in other industry sectors. In commissioning us to work with them, the CII recognised the career perceptions of young people are formed at school and not in their final year of university, therefore we thought we would find out how 1,500 Year 10 (aged 15) students about felt a job in a broad range of sectors.
Last week we published the findings from the survey to coincide with the publication of youth unemployment figures. To showcase the findings, we invited representatives from industry and think tanks to the RSA to discuss the findings over breakfast. The results showed a wholesale bias towards the creative and media sectors at the expense of key growth sectors such as environment, energy and transport. Other sectors that performed poorly included farming and charities.
At the breakfast Manpower shared the latest quarterly figures from their Employment Outlook Survey, which perversely show that demand is highest in the utilities sector. This led to a lively discussion that was subsequently picked up through a number of media outlets and publications. The key discussion points centred around:
o The mismatch between young people’s aspirations and industry demand
o The reasons for this – poor reputations, gender prejudices, the impact of brand on perceptions, the persistent stereotyping of specific sectors (e.g. charities, engineering) and lack of awareness
o The discussion started with the extent to which young people are portrayed negatively (unfairly) and the doom and gloom they face in the future
Our survey shows that almost 39% got their information about careers from their family, around 30% from the media, and 14% from their teachers. Only 2% received their information from employers. We should not assume that even the 14% receiving guidance from teachers gains sophisticated insight into the range of these opportunities.
Business has arguably the key role to play in getting young people into industries. The British Chambers of Commerce report Skills for Business: More to Learn? published this month, found that transport was one of the sectors least likely to engage with schools, colleges or universities
A combination of this research, our experience of working with young people and alongside businesses, confirms our belief that employers must work face-to-face with young people to inspire and enthuse them about the opportunities available. We know the impact of this because we are already successfully working with organisations to transform the way they are perceived and understood by young people. If high-growth sectors such as energy, environment and public transport don’t act, a swathe of future talent will be lost to them forever. This would be devastating for young people. It would also have dire consequences for Britain’s long-term economic and environmental security.
Download the research findings here