Occupational Aspirations of Children from Primary School to Teenage Years Across Ethnic Groups 

Centre or Longitudinal Studies & The Runnymede Trust (March 2019)

Read the report here.

This joint report from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies and the Runnymede Trust examines how occupational aspirations of girls and boys from different ethnic groups compare and to what extent they impact occupational outcomes. The authors use data from 6,242 girls and 6,272 boys taken from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), which has been following over 19,500 children since they were born in the UK around the year 2000. The main source of this survey is based on responses around what the sample would like to be when they grow up taken at age 7, 11 and 14. This report found that ethnic boys and girls have higher aspirations for well-paid jobs compared with White children of the same sex. While boy’s aspirations usually start higher and drop over time, the opposite is the case for girls. Little change was found in the wage of the jobs aspired to by White majority girls.

Out of the seven ethnic groups discussed in this report, Sportsman was the most popular job amongst boys in four of the ethnic groups and second in another two. For girls, the most popular occupation for six of the seven ethnic groups was medical professional, with secondary school teacher being the most popular for White girls. Comparing these aspirations with the wages of jobs actually held by ethnic minority children at age 25 using a cohort  of young people aged around 10 years older than the MCS group, minority groups are not achieving the levels of occupational success they aspire to with exception to Indian women. No evidence was found that ethnic minorities are choosing to go into lower paid occupations or that minority parents; attitudes or behaviours result in suppressed occupational aspirations.