GCSE results 2017: Parents lack confidence to support their child’s career aspirations

Half of British parents worry their understanding of today’s career landscape could hinder their child’s future, research has revealed the same week that thousands of young people will be receiving their GCSE results.  

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Despite parents being the number one influencer on the career decisions their children make, half (50%) worry that their level of understanding of today’s ever-changing career landscape could hinder their child’s future, according to research released today by EY.

In the week when students receive their GCSE results and contemplate their future, almost two-fifths (37%) of British parents admit they have reservations about discussing career options with their child, worrying they may give the wrong advice.

The survey of 1,500 British parents reveals that 30% fear they don’t know enough about the range of jobs that exist today; 29% feel they don’t know enough about what their child wants to do; while 25% said they simply don’t have the time to talk about career options with their child.

Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner for Talent at EY, UK & Ireland, said: “Parents are often the first-port of call for children when looking for careers advice, but it seems that many feel ill-equipped to help their child take the vital first step after compulsory education.

“It’s understandable - the world of work is changing rapidly, with the impact of technology, the gig economy, and more new and alternative routes into the workplace than ever before.”

When almost three quarters (74%) of British parents believe they didn’t receive the guidance they needed themselves to pursue their dream job and the emergence of digital careers, perhaps it’s not surprising that many parents don’t feel confident enough to discuss the full range of career options available.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of parents said they don’t feel wholly informed about the alternatives to university for their child – be they apprenticeships, gap years, or starting a business. That’s despite 95% of parents feeling that more young people doing apprenticeships straight out of school is a good thing for the UK as a whole.

When almost three quarters (74%) of British parents believe they didn’t receive the guidance they needed themselves to pursue their dream job and the emergence of digital careers, perhaps it’s not surprising that many parents don’t feel confident enough to discuss the full range of career options available.

According to the survey, university is still seen as the sole option for a significant percentage of parents, regardless of the future career their child had chosen. A quarter (25%) of parents admitted ‘there was nothing to talk about’ when it came to discussing career options with their child, as they were going to university after school - no question.

EY has launched its ‘Parental Advice’ campaign in the UK, which aims to help bridge the information gap, arming parents with more information.

Stilwell said: “As a mother of three, I know how difficult it can be to know and understand the careers options and different routes available – it can feel like the career landscape is changing all the time. That’s why we developed EY’s Parental Advice campaign; to help better equip parents and fuel the ambitions of the next generation.”

EY has launched a new parent centric hub, providing parents with useful content and articles with tips and advice on the different options available to children to start their careers. On the hub, parents can also find out about a series of events over the next couple of months to extend the conversation and develop the careers advice British school children receive, as the careers landscape evolves.

For example, EY is holding a Parental Advice Panel Discussion on Tuesday 19 September, at The Deck at the Southbank Centre. It will be an interactive panel with panellists such as: Sarah Beeny, TV presenter and property developer; Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO of Youth Employment UK; Jack Parsons, CEO of yourfeed; Flo Barrett, EY Apprentice; and Steven Bartlett, CEO of Social Chain.

The firm is also planning a “Parentaship Workshop” on Friday 27 October in central London: an interactive workshop session for parent and child pairs to skill-up on the perfect career for them and how to get there.

Those interested in these events should check the EY website for more details.

 

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