Career aspirations disconnected from market reality

A major new report reveals a disconnect between young people’s career aspirations and available jobs in the UK (whether current vacancies or projected demand). The report is based on an international survey of more than 8,500 people aged 14 to 18. There were more than 7,000 responses from young people in the UK. The findings include:

  • the sectors that young people aspire to work in differ greatly from the jobs available with a disconnect between aspiration and opportunity
  • five times as many young people want to work in art, culture, entertainment and sport as there are jobs available
  • aspirations are set early (as young as seven) and do not change enough over time to meet labour demand
  • young people who benefit from careers activities have aspirations that are better connected to the labour market
  • extending best practice could change the lives of 100,000 school leavers per year.

The report makes the case for a significant expansion of career-related learning in primary schools, more support for careers guidance in secondary schools, better labour market information (LMI) for young people, as well as more help for parents and more engagement by employers.

At the Sussex Learning Network, we have long understood the importance of meaningful careers education and the impact this has on young people making informed decisions about their future. Through two projects, Streets Ahead and Get Career Confident, we are supporting around 1,000 learners with personal careers guidance as well as creating a suite of resources that use local LMI.

As part of our strategic work, SLN is engaged with the development of localised education and skills strategies. Through our collaborative partnership, we provide a space and contribution to strategic thinking in areas of further and higher education that are important to the region and its economic growth.