Published today: new report on the career aspirations of children in Skåne, Sweden

Over the last 18 months we have been working with colleagues from Region Skåne and Mälardalens University in Sweden on a report examining the career aspirations of children in the region. The research has looked at who or what is influencing their choices and how they compare with current and projected jobs using the methodology we developed: Drawing the Future.

Drawing the Future Skåne Sweden Report cover

New Report: What children in Skåne aspire to

The results: choice, gender and influence 

There were many positives to be taken from the results of the study, one of the most significant being that children have a strong belief that they will be able to choose any job they want when they grow up and this belief is not influenced by gender or ethnicity. 

However, when it comes to the jobs they aspire to themselves, this is strongly influenced by gender. Given that Sweden is one of best regarded countries on gender equality it is very surprising that hairdresser is the number one career choice for girls. It shows how deep and ingrained the stereotypical views children hold about the jobs people do.

Swedish children's top career aspirations by gender

In common with other countries, Skåne children’s career aspirations are strongly influenced by the people around them, especially their parents. However, media and online sources have a greater influence on children’s career choices than we have seen in other countries and this something which is worth exploring in more detail. 

The study also shows a significant mismatch between the current and predicted demands of the labour market and children’s career aspirations. We know from similar research studies we have undertaken that the career aspirations of 7-year-olds are often similar to those of 17-year-olds, so this mismatch is concerning. For example, only one of the ten most popular career choices (doctor) is directly linked to STEM. 

Proportion of desired future careers named by the pupils (n=1799), as well as the actual proportion of 16-64 year olds that currently have this career nationally and in Skåne, respectively. Presented as SSYK categories containing >1 % of the desired future careers named by the pupils.

Broadening children’s horizons

One easy and effective way to broaden children’s horizons and show them the myriad of career opportunities open to them, is enabling schools to interact with people from the world of work, either in person or virtually.

This study shows that teachers want to help their children discover their futures but don’t have the connections with employers or the time to find volunteers. In the UK the Inspiring the Future online database of willing volunteers doing a diverse range of jobs means schools can easily and quickly find and invite volunteers. It is an approach several countries have successfully adopted, replicating our methodology and technology.  

 The ability for schools to connect with volunteers virtually is a real game changer, enabling their students to interact with an incredibly diverse range of volunteers from across the country in a way that has not been possible before. It has the potential to revolutionise how young people can see the world and the opportunities open to them. 

Get Involved with Inspiring the Future

Read the report article from it-pedagogen here.