What are school leavers’ most popular careers by gender?

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 25 Sep 2018

We’ll give you a clue: “fashion designer” was not at the top of the boys’ list…


A study into young peoples’ career aspirations has revealed UK school leavers’ most popular careers by gender.

For girls, fashion designer topped the list with 13% saying that’s what they wanted to do when they leave school.

Boys voted most for computer game developer, with a massive 36.5% saying that was their top choice.

The research was conducted by Nominet, an international internet company, running domain names that end in “.uk”. It is now one of the world’s largest country code registries, with over three million businesses, and millions more consumers, relying on its domain registry services.

Female schoolchildren – Top five careers

Fashion designer – 13%

Graphic designer – 12.9%

Teacher – 12.8&

Computer game developer – 12.3%

Entrepreneur – 11.5%

Male schoolchildren ­– Top five careers

Computer game developer – 36.5%

App developer – 17.2%

Web developer – 15.1%

Sports professional – 14.6%

Entrepreneur – 13.4%

Traditional careers such as police officer, lawyer, doctor or nurse were half as appealing as tech developer roles among 11-18 year olds; 77% of 11-12 year olds express an interest in working in IT in the future.

Almost twice as many 11-18 year old boys (43%) as girls (25%) want to work in an IT department after completing formal education, and half of 11-18 year olds think ICT will be the most useful subject for their career when they leave school.

While the opinion that IT is the most important subject goes across all genders, it is not translating into careers: only 17.5% of the UK’s ICT professionals are women.

This imbalance is replicated in the national picture: less than 7% of tech positions in Europe are filled by women. Worldwide, women are a minority within tech leadership - accounting for less than 20% in their respective countries.

Ironically, women are considered better coders than men – but only if they hide their gender: a recent study showed code written by women was in fact more likely to be approved by their peers than code written by men…as long as their peers didn’t realise the code had been written by a woman.


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