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21st Mar, 2023

Olivia Maguire
Olivia Maguire
Job Title
Content Marketing Lead

Effective careers guidance has never been more important. The labour market is evolving rapidly due to advancements in technology and changes in the global economy, and young people need to be aware of the emerging industries and job trends, and the skills required to succeed in them.

Additionally, with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, guidance is crucial for young people to navigate the changing landscape of work and develop the necessary resilience and adaptability to thrive in their chosen careers.

Commissioned with OnePoll, we surveyed 1,000 children between the ages of 11 and 18, and 2,000 parents with children of the same age, to find out how they feel about career guidance, where they get their best advice from, and how prepared they feel for their future careers.

Here is a summary of what we found:

We asked parents who they feel is most responsible for their child’s career advice. Only five per cent said external advice services, but the majority (53%) said they feel the onus is on them to provide careers guidance. Despite this, 71% of parents only give their child career advice every few months or less.

Careers advice

This result matches up with where children feel they get the best career advice. Forty-one per cent say this is from their family, whereas 40% say they get the best advice from school. These results could point to a gap in careers education, where schools should be encouraging parents to talk to their children about careers and better support them by sharing materials and activities for families to complete together at home.

Careers advice

To better understand how students feel about the amount of careers guidance they get, we asked them whether they would like more, less, or the same amount of career advice from their school, careers advice services, online, and from their families.

Careers guidance

Fifty-eight per cent wanted more career advice from their school, 38% wanted the same amount, and only one per cent said they wanted less. This highlights the high importance young people place on careers advice. Interestingly, the desire for more careers advice in school was highest among the youngest children. In September 2022, amendments were made to the Education Act 1997, which meant careers guidance was extended to include year 7 students. These survey results may suggest that schools haven’t yet established an effective careers plan for younger students.

In fact, overwhelmingly, children said they want more or the same amount of careers advice from all services.

We also asked parents how prepared they feel their child is for their future career, and the results seem positive in general, with 69% feeling their child is either somewhat or very prepared. These results align well with how prepared young people feel, as shown below.

Careers education

Interestingly, the same percentage (69%) of children know what career they want to go into when they finish education. It’s possible that the reason we are seeing the same number is because those children are the ones who feel prepared.

However, that still leaves almost a third of children who have not yet decided on a clear career path, showing that more education is needed to help those who are unsure.

Careers education

There’s a real gap for our pupils when it comes to careers advice, especially with 31% of students not knowing what career they want to go into post-education. Children, in particular, teenagers, are faced with a mountain to climb to get into the workforce as they are left in the dark when it comes to careers advice. This has only got worse due to the pandemic, cost-of-living crisis and impending recession. During a time like this, effective careers education has never been more important.

Gavin Beart

Divisional Managing Director of Reed Education

We also asked young people what route they want to take after they finish secondary school, and the majority (57%) said they plan to attend university. The second most popular route was an apprenticeship, which 22% of children said would be their preference. Just nine per cent want to do a traineeship, and even less (five per cent) want to go straight into work. Eight per cent didn’t know or didn’t have a preference.

When you compare this to the routes parents want their child to take, interestingly, despite the increased awareness in recent years, apprenticeships are more popular with parents. Parents’ most preferred route is still university, with 47% wanting this for their child, but 29% would prefer their child to complete an apprenticeship, compared to the 22% of children who prefer this option. Just three per cent want their child to go straight into the world of work.

We also asked parents how many hours of careers advice their child receives in school every month, to the best of their knowledge, and 27% said they didn’t know. This was the most common response to this question, which worryingly highlights the lack of communication between schools and parents on this topic.

Careers education

Another area of confusion is around salaries. Our survey of young people asked how much they think they will earn in their chosen careers, and the most common response was they didn’t know (14%). This shows a clear lack of school education around salaries, and perhaps an unwillingness for parents to disclose their own salary to their children. Reed’s free career guide provides insight into the salaries students can expect to earn when they start their careers and as they progress. It also picks out a variety of jobs within each sector and the average UK salary, based on our 2023 salary guides.

If you are looking for a complete careers package, our FREE ‘Gateway to work’ programme is a five-step digital, complete careers education curriculum to help students in years 9 to 13 transition from education to the workplace. Students will have the opportunity to identify suitable career options, complete a digital work experience placement, build an effective CV and more.

Find out more about Gateway to work.

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