Friday, 19 April 2013

Nothing in common: The career aspirations of young Britons mapped against projected labour market demand (2010-2020)

Occasional Taskforce Research Paper: No. 2 by Dr Anthony Mann, David Massey, Peter Glover, Elnaz T. Kashefpadkel and James Dawkins published by UKCES, b-live, and Education and Employers (March 2013)


This paper asks a simple question: is there any alignment between the career aspirations of young people, aged between 13 and 18, and the best estimates of actual demand within the current and future British labour market?

The question is relevant to young people, employers and the UK’s future prosperity. The question is pertinent to young people who make important decisions about their future at ages 14, 16 and 18. Such decisions, about subject options chosen or dropped and experience sought, gained or missed are essential to the ultimate prospects of young people in the jobs market. This paper asks, therefore, whether teenagers, as they make these decisions, do so with career aspirations in mind which reflect realistic opportunities in the world of work.

To employers, the importance of the question relates to flow of a new generation of workers with interests, skills and qualifications relevant to available jobs. The productivity of enterprises is closely linked to the quality of staff they are able to recruit and retain. This paper addresses the question, therefore, of whether young people are aware of the range of opportunities open to them. Is the youth labour market working effectively in signalling to young people the breadth of opportunities which are available and what they need to do – the decisions they needed to take at 14, 16 and 18 – to allow them to compete successfully in recruitment competitions.

Full text (PDF 25pp)

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