Money worries are driving school leavers straight into work

  • Emma Finamore
  • 23 Feb 2016

Those set on university base decisions on the need for vocational qualifications, and getting "better" jobs.


Secondary school children are not entering further education due to a desire to earn money straight away and a fear of getting into debt, according to new research.

The findings came from the trendence School Leaver Study, which surveyed around 9,000 UK school students, Year 7−13.

However, university-bound students focused on longer term career aspects, such as needing to get a qualification for their planned career path, and believing that attending higher education would ensure a “better” job.

University-bound students said the recent increase in tuition fees had little impact on their decision to go onto university. However, they did say a “very high salary” could trump everything and convince them to become work-bound.

“What is immediately noticeable in our findings is that the core drivers behind the decision-making process of work-bound students and university-bound students are completely different”, said David Palmer, trendence UK Research Manager.

“Companies offering work-based training or apprenticeships may do well to focus on students’ financial concerns, whereas universities and similar higher education institutes could do better by speaking to their career ambitions.”

The survey also looked closely into the thoughts and habits of pupils intending to go straight into work – which was 16% of those interviewed overall.

Key findings about those considering going directly into work:

– The majority (65%) are male

– Science was the third highest career path for both men and women, with IT/telecoms and engineering being the preferred options for men, and healthcare and teaching being the top choices for women

– There has been a significant (38%) rise in the use of online careers websites for school leavers

– Facebook is the most popular social media platform for finding career opportunities, with the majority (69%) of respondents using the site

– 97% of those going straight into a career were from state schools, compared to just 3% that were from fee-paying schools.

In addition to revealing results on work-bound students, the survey details information on gender; ethnicity and social diversity; region-by-region analysis; and details on relocation habits.



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