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Teenagers' "Mismatched" Job Ambitions Watch

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21762564

    There is a "massive mismatch" between young people's career expectations and the reality of the jobs available, a major survey of teenagers suggests.

    It highlights the need for better careers advice, says Nick Chambers, director of the Education and Employers Taskforce, which published the survey.

    The study also indicates teenagers have a very weak understanding of potential earnings for different types of jobs.

    There is a serious "information gap" for teenagers, says Mr Chambers.

    Confederation of British Industry president Sir Roger Carr said the report showed industry had to do more to show young people the "requirements and opportunities" of the world of work.

    The study, based on a survey of 11,000 13- to 16-year-olds, is an attempt to map the job ambitions of teenagers against the employment market up to 2020.

    It shows teenagers have a weak grasp of the availability of jobs - and that large numbers will be aiming for jobs that are in short supply.

    For instance, there are 10 times as many people aiming for jobs in the culture, media and sports sector than there are jobs likely to be available.

    And even though almost a quarter of jobs are in the distribution, hotels and restaurant category, only about one in 40 youngsters are considering careers in these industries.

    Fewer than one in 30 young people are considering jobs in banking and finance, even though one in five jobs are expected to be in this sector.

    This "misalignment" could mean long-term problems for young people, the report says, because they are making decisions about qualifications and subjects with little awareness of the jobs market ahead of them.

    And the report warns it can be difficult in later years to catch up with missing qualifications.

    This lack of informed choices fuels the problem of employers struggling to find suitably skilled staff, even though there are high levels of youth unemployment.

    The report also looks at the perceptions of young people about types of employment.

    Among the 10 least preferred occupations are jobs such as surveyor and speech therapist, even though they are likely to earn above-average pay.

    The two least preferred jobs, as identified by teenagers, are factory work and glazers.

    The most preferred employment areas, from the perspective of teenagers, include teaching, the law, the police, psychology and sport.

    These might be influenced either by role models such as teachers at school - or else by media images.

    But the report says it suggests the narrowness of young people's view of the types of work available - and the failure of employers to present a broader picture of opportunities.

    This is the latest warning about the need to improve careers education.

    MPs on the education select committee earlier this year warned that careers services in England showed a "worrying deterioration" and called for urgent action.

    It warned that the National Careers Service, launched last year, offered guidance by website and phone, but did not provide young people with face-to-face advisers.

    Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Brian Lightman said the report showed the importance of "ensuring that all young people are properly informed about the range of career routes open to them".

    "It also underlines the need for a nationally co-ordinated careers service which ensures that young people anywhere in the country are able to access face to face guidance by a qualified careers professional," said Mr Lightman.

    Deloitte chairman David Cruickshank said there was a recognition of the need to forge relationships between schools and employers. "Both sides are willing, but for too many, partnership has felt too difficult," he said.

    Education and Employers Taskforce director Nick Chambers said: "As a country we are doing our young people a huge disservice if we don't give them enough information to allow then to make proper informed decisions about their futures."

    This charity has campaigned to improve the quality of careers education, highlighting the link between social mobility and access to career advice and work experience.

    It runs projects such as Inspiring the Future and Speakers for Schools that encourage people from different professions to visit state schools and talk about their jobs.

    Among the most prominent Speakers for Schools was software billionaire Bill Gates, who visited a secondary school in south London.
    This is an interesting study that I think confirms my thoughts on this issue, but the question is though, why do you think students continue to pursue careers that they have a slim chance at succeeding in?

    Are you a student that's pursuing or looking to pursue a career in one of these saturated marketplaces? Why have you chosen to try and beat the odds? What made you disregard other careers where the chances of a good job are much higher? Was it that you never got the careers advice you needed to make an informed decision?

    What do you think the Government needs to do to help rebalance these unrealistic expectations about careers and employment?
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    Im 20 and will start my Environmental Science degree in September im fully aware that its hard to find a decent paying environmental job however i wouldn't have it any other way this is part of the reason why ive chosen to do a BTEC as well as A levels to broaden my skillset in order to equip me with skills needed for various jobs.
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    A lot of it is due to students being told to simply pursue what they enjoy. Take university courses for example, the no.1 most common advice I've heard/seen given out to students, is to pick what they enjoy most. I think a lot of students end up taking this advice too literally, leading them with the belief that they shouldn't settle for anything else other than what they enjoy most.

    One particular line from that article sums it up best for me, ''large numbers will be aiming for jobs that are in short supply'' - it reminds you of the problem in courses like: law, english lit, history, philosophy, basically the arts and humanities (and social sciences as well). There are so many people who pursue these courses having only factored in their personal interests without much thought about the jobs market, and who can blame them? They've been told to take this idealistic approach by virtually everyone.

    A bit of realism is needed. Although harsh, kids should be reminded that inspite of their thriving passion for journalism and what not, the jobs market is like a game of musical chairs, often there are more people wanting to go into an area than there are jobs available in it, so a lot of people do get left out. But from a teacher's perspective, it is a bit of a catch-22 situation, you want kids to believe in themselves and succeed, so you don't want to put them off.
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    This confirms my belief that the way the careers advice industry thinks people should think about work is weird. I'm not sure the majority of hotel and restraunt jobs are actually the sort of jobs well adjusted teenagers should be very enthusiastic about getting. Is it so awful that teenagers dream their dreams and settle for that sort of work later if they can't get what they were after?

    Some jobs are more desirable than others, why would it be more correct for the proportion of teenagers madly enthusiastic about being bog cleaners to match the number of bog cleaning vacancies?
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    This confirms my belief that the way the careers advice industry thinks people should think about work is weird. I'm not sure the majority of hotel and restraunt jobs are actually the sort of jobs well adjusted teenagers should be very enthusiastic about getting. Is it so awful that teenagers dream their dreams and settle for that sort of work later if they can't get what they were after?

    Some jobs are more desirable than others, why would it be more correct for the proportion of teenagers madly enthusiastic about being bog cleaners to match the number of bog cleaning vacancies?
    I don't think it's wrong for people to have an idea of a dream job, but the problem is, when a significant proportion of young people are chasing careers in such over-subscribed industries - particularly as Jack93o says, in Arts and Humanities disciplines, it adds to the shortages of talent in STEM careers. Once you make that decision to go down that path, it's very difficult to convert back across as you've developed a largely incompatible skill set. Where STEM graduates might not be able to get into the exact role they want, they can typically still find an adjacent career that still leverages their skills and knowledge.

    My worry is that students go following a dream that they're unlikely to ever achieve, end up on the graduate scrapheap. That said, there's always a requirement for low paid work in the service industry. I just don't think it's a good use of public money endlessly subsidising people to do degrees that aren't going to provide much RoI for the wider economy.

    Playing Devil's Advocate here for a moment... is the answer reducing the number of places at uni for courses where direct employability in that discipline is low? Maybe. But does this run the risk of elitism? On the other hand, likely candidates for employment post-graduation in these extremely competitive disciplines are going to be those with the best grades anyway, so by doing this are we really disadvantaging people from weaker academic backgrounds?

    Improving careers advice and making young people aware of the difficulties that they'll face in getting a job after graduating is definitely important. I think universities need to be more frank and open about students employability after taking their courses and applicants need to be aware of these statistics much much earlier on. What worries me though is that you could say to a group of young people that all want to do some over-saturated career, only 10% of you will ever get a job, you'd still get a pretty large proportion of that group believing that they can be in that 10%. Admirable? Yes. Realistic? No. Careers advice needs to beat home the reality of the choices that young people are going to make and greater emphasis needs to be made on employability prospects when making these decisions, in my opinion.
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    The problem is a simple one I think.

    IN schools children are now told they can do anything they want. And not in the cute way you'd say it to a five year old, they're told it right through College now aswell. You can't say to someone in a school environment 'It's great that'd you'd like to be a games designer, but you know there really aren't many jobs out there and with your BTEC in IT, you're going to struggle to get one if we're being realistic, have you thought about any other career paths, or something you can do in the interim while you hold out for your dream job?'
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    I don't think it's wrong for people to have an idea of a dream job, but the problem is, when a significant proportion of young people are chasing careers in such over-subscribed industries - particularly as Jack93o says, in Arts and Humanities disciplines, it adds to the shortages of talent in STEM careers. Once you make that decision to go down that path, it's very difficult to convert back across as you've developed a largely incompatible skill set. Where STEM graduates might not be able to get into the exact role they want, they can typically still find an adjacent career that still leverages their skills and knowledge.

    My worry is that students go following a dream that they're unlikely to ever achieve, end up on the graduate scrapheap. That said, there's always a requirement for low paid work in the service industry. I just don't think it's a good use of public money endlessly subsidising people to do degrees that aren't going to provide much RoI for the wider economy.

    Playing Devil's Advocate here for a moment... is the answer reducing the number of places at uni for courses where direct employability in that discipline is low? Maybe. But does this run the risk of elitism? On the other hand, likely candidates for employment post-graduation in these extremely competitive disciplines are going to be those with the best grades anyway, so by doing this are we really disadvantaging people from weaker academic backgrounds?

    Improving careers advice and making young people aware of the difficulties that they'll face in getting a job after graduating is definitely important. I think universities need to be more frank and open about students employability after taking their courses and applicants need to be aware of these statistics much much earlier on. What worries me though is that you could say to a group of young people that all want to do some over-saturated career, only 10% of you will ever get a job, you'd still get a pretty large proportion of that group believing that they can be in that 10%. Admirable? Yes. Realistic? No. Careers advice needs to beat home the reality of the choices that young people are going to make and greater emphasis needs to be made on employability prospects when making these decisions, in my opinion.

    With regards to the second to last paragraph that's what I'd do if I had the power. Sure it would lead to elitism but is that such a bad thing? All it would mean would be they'd discover elitism does exist a few years earlier and you'll have saved a fair bit of money.
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    What support is there for students to research careers? The local job support centres (connexions and the such) have all closed down, so I think it's left up to teachers to do.

    The response was always "what job do you want to do?" "okay, great, it looks like you've got everything sorted then"... Which is obviously utter rubbish. While I haven't forgotten the career that I really want to get into, the opportunities never arose and I had to go down several other routes to find something to do until then.


    They need to be looking at the actual job prospects and making sure students are fully researching these opportunities. If one job closes, where could they go to until it opens up again? If someone says they want to be a window cleaner, the teachers really need to drive it home that this might not be a long term solution and that they really need to consider other opportunities. Yeah, we need people doing those jobs, but it's not great in the grand scheme of things.


    The value of money seems to be missing too. I am looking up budgetting for when I do my placement, and even if I graduate on a £25k salary, that really isn't a lot. I am surprised people are able to live on anything less than that. At a young age, people (myself included) just imagined that a £15k job would be awesome because you'd have all that money to yourself. Well, no, probably 80% goes onto paying for other things.
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    (Original post by Jack93o)
    A lot of it is due to students being told to simply pursue what they enjoy. Take university courses for example, the no.1 most common advice I've heard/seen given out to students, is to pick what they enjoy most. I think a lot of students end up taking this advice too literally, leading them with the belief that they shouldn't settle for anything else other than what they enjoy most.

    One particular line from that article sums it up best for me, ''large numbers will be aiming for jobs that are in short supply'' - it reminds you of the problem in courses like: law, english lit, history, philosophy, basically the arts and humanities (and social sciences as well). There are so many people who pursue these courses having only factored in their personal interests without much thought about the jobs market, and who can blame them? They've been told to take this idealistic approach by virtually everyone.
    The majority of Law students seem to do it because they think they'll get rich, are **** at STEM subjects and watched Suits, not really any interest in it.

    Think it's true of the other subjects though.
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    It's an interesting point, and so very true. I've wanted to be a barrister since I was twelve, which is why I've worked hard for so long. But I know a lot of people who think that becoming a solicitor is easy, that all you need is a law degree and you're in. Law is a damn hard career path, as maybe it should be. Same for medicine. But maybe some people - especially those with unrealistic grade expectations - should be encouraged to think of other possibilities as well. No one should narrow themselves down to just one option. I have about five back up plans just in case this one goes tits up.
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    I think a web based system could be really good providing you could force pupils to engage with it properly and come up with their own plans.
    The face to face careers system was rubbish when I was coming through, even though it sounds like I lived through a fondly remembered golden age of careers advice from that article. The school's 'careers library' was a lot more useful and that was basically some boxes of extel cards.
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    I suppose that there is such a thing as 'career' and there is such a thing as 'a job'. Children are encouraged to pursue a career, but they are never told to go for the bin-man job, or the factory-labourer job, or the House-keeping job, or the local off-licence job, or the supermarket job. These jobs may be classed as undesireable, they are hard work, manual and low paid. Who wants to get those jobs? Who has ever said that they wanted to be a bin-man when they grow up? They've always said that they wanted to be an astronaut, a paleontologist, a museum-curator, the king of Azerbaijan, or a zoo-keeper. These are great jobs (who wouldn't want to be king?) but they are too high for expectations. Children, when they leave school, suddenly realise that the world before them is all bins, supermarket shelves, storage rooms, and cleaning equipment.
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    I'd be more interested to see how many of those kids want to go into the same career at 17-19 years of age.

    13-16 is so young. Very few of my peers have ended up in careers that they wanted to pursue back then simply because their career ambitions changed by the time we applied to uni.


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