Less than half of 14-24 year olds receive useful careers advice

CMI-backed Professions Week research reveals that parents also need more help with careers guidance for their children

New research released today to mark the start of Professions Week shows that parents and young people do not feel that they have access to useful careers advice and more needs to be done to help young people make informed choices into careers as a professional.

The survey of 2,448 14-24 year olds and their parents shows that whilst there are high levels of awareness about different professional jobs, some young people have low aspirations due to lack of good quality careers advice offered to them and their parents. Only half (50%) of 14-24 year olds have had a careers conversation with a teacher or careers advice professional in the last year. Of those, only 79% found it useful – meaning that just 40% of young people received careers advice that they felt was useful within the last 12 months. While the majority of parents are happy to give their children careers advice (86%), of those that didn’t, the most common reason was that they didn't know enough (60%).

Many who did give advice felt that the biggest challenge was that their children did not believe them or were not interested. As one surveyed mother said:

"The variety of jobs and career opportunities is so different these days with all the technology, I don’t know enough about all of the career options available, and don’t understand what a lot of the jobs entail." 

Sarah Hathaway, Chair of Professions Week – an initiative set up by 15 of the UK's leading professional bodies including the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), ACCA, CIPD and CIPS – commented:

"This is the second year we have researched perceptions of professional careers and it shows that we must still do more to make sure that both young people and their parents receive better careers advice and guidance. Professional bodies can help by providing accurate information for careers advisors and online sources, however there is a need for a coordinating role between individual advisors, their schools and colleges, professional bodies and employers."

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – which is one of the bodies behind Professions Week –  said:

"The professions offer fantastic opportunities for young people but we have to make sure that they and their parents better understand these exciting jobs. That means making employability a priority in education, so young people know what's needed for a professional career and have the information they need to make the right choices about their studies. With the UK labour market needing a million new managers over the next five years alone, this research shows how important it is that we improve careers advice for young people."

The research also showed that gender stereotypes might be stronger amongst parents than their children. Parents of girls were significantly more likely to say that their child would be likely to want to be a learning & development, or communications professional and less likely to note an interest in becoming an engineering or construction professional (the opposite of those with male children). 

For a copy of the full report, please visit www.professionsweek.org 


Other key findings included:  
  • 14-24 year olds from lower socio-economic groups had lower awareness, aspirations and expectations of becoming a professional and were slightly less likely to think that more support would make a positive difference
  • Between a fifth to over a third of 14-18 year olds, 19-24 year olds and parents thought that they/ their child would be more likely to be able to become a professional with more support (except for construction) 
  • Only 45% of 14-24 year olds from lower socio-economic groups thought they would probably go to university, in contrast to 83% of their higher socio-economic counterparts
  • 46% of 14-18 year olds have had a careers advice conversation in the last 12 months which they considered useful (similar to the previous year), in contrast to only 31% of 19-24 year olds
  • Perceptions of life as a professional were generally positive (typically a fifth to a third of each group were neutral and minority expressed more negative views)
  • The weight of perception tended towards life as a professional being exciting, offering freedom how and when you do your tasks, greater earnings

A copy of the report, ‘Life as a Professional: perceptions of 14-24 year-olds and parents’ is available on request.

Further information

For any media enquiries please contact: Clare Richardson, clare.richardson@kindredagency.com 020 7010 0816


Additional information
  • This research was carried out as part of Professions Week. The research data was collected via a survey of 2448 14-124 year olds. The sample was taken from the YoungBods research panel, by the research agency ResearchBods and was drawn from across the UK.
  • Professions Week (10 – 16 November) is supported by some of the UK’s leading professional bodies to increase interest and awareness among 14 – 24 year olds in the professions. It will also support teachers and careers advisors, giving them the relevant materials to help young people make informed decisions with regards to the professions.

The founding professional bodies involved in creating Professions Week are:

  1. Association of Accounting Technicians
  2. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  3. Association of Taxation Technicians
  4. Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments
  5. Chartered Institute of Taxation
  6. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
  7. Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys
  8. Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals
  9. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  10. Chartered Management Institute
  11. Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
  12. ICAEW
  13. Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
  14. Institute of Leadership and Management
  15. Institute for Learning
  16. International Association of Book-keepers

For further information please visit: www.professionsweek.org