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Realistic Expectations

There is a “massive mismatch” between young people’s career expectations and the reality of the jobs available.

A study by the Education & Employers Taskforce, based on a survey of 11,000 13- to 16-year-olds, shows teenagers have a weak grasp of the availability of jobs – and large numbers aim for jobs that are in short supply.  For example, there are 10 times as many young people aiming for jobs in the culture, media and sports sector than there are jobs likely to be available.  Although 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 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 jobs teenagers prefer most are: Teacher/lecturer, Lawyer, Accountant, Actor/actress, Police, IT consultant, Doctor, Sportsman/woman, Armed services/firefighter and Psychologist (see report).  Among the 10 least preferred occupations are Surveyor and Speech therapist, even though they are likely to earn above-average pay, also Locksmith, Welder, Personnel/HR, Miner, Call centre, Audiologist, Factory worker and Glazier.