New research aims to find out more about young people’s perceptions of careers, choices and their future prospects in Northern Ireland

This research from DMH Associates aims to connect with young people in schools and colleges between the age of 14 years old to 19 years old to find out more about their views of the world of work, the opportunities available to them, and what they think their future might look like. The online survey was issued as part of Skills NI 2018. Feedback was received from 575 young people in Northern Ireland representing 27 schools and colleges.

Read the report here.

Objectives of the research:

  • To explore young people’s career decisions and preferences, including sources of information used
  • To identify their expectations of earnings and perceptions of employers’ expectations
  • To assess their levels of confidence in gaining employment, how this compares to previous generations and concerns about securing a career after post-primary education
  • To review the length of time they might spend in their first job and subsequently, how many jobs they expect to have in their lifetime.
  • To investigate young people’s perceptions on the potential impact of Brexit.

The findings are designed to inform government policymakers, the Education Authority, Area Learning Communities and other allied bodies, education leaders and teachers, employers and careers practitioners on what matters to young people when it comes to careers, choices and future prospects.

Key Findings:

Young people’s career choices and preferences

  • The top ten career preferences stated were (i) Engineer; (ii) Teacher; (ii) Nurse; (iv) Architect; (v) Programmer; (vi) Technician; (vii) Midwife; (viii) Psychologist; (ix) Lawyer; and (x) Therapist. It is notable that none of the respondents mentioned occupations in the agriculture, food and hospitality industries.
  • 42% (n=185) of respondents stated that “the variety and interest in the job” is what influences them most in their career choices. 18% (n=78) identified “salaries” as the next important factor and 16% (n=69) indicated they valued “doing something that helps others”.

Sources of information used

  • Over two-thirds of young people 69% (n=302) access careers information online. However, around a third 31% (n=134) do not use online sources for careers information.
  • Google was reported as the most frequently used browser 51% (n=224). This was closely followed by NI Direct cited as the most used website 35% (n=152). Approximately 17% (n=75) use Facebook and the Skills NI website (n=74). 7% of respondents (n=31) stated they use other sources which include employer and/or university websites, for example, UCAS, NHS and/or recruitment websites.
  • The main factor that worried young people about securing work after they completed their post primary education was there may “not be enough jobs” identified by 33% (n=143) of the respondents.

New research aims to find out more about young people’s perceptions of careers, choices and their future prospects in Northern Ireland

Anticipated earnings and perceptions of employers’ expectations

  • In their first year of work after leaving education the majority of the respondents 48% (n= 211) indicated they think their salaries will range between £10,000 – £20,000. A further 32% (n=139) believed their salary would be between £20,000 and £29,999.
  • Young people ranked “Good Qualifications” to be most important to employers. Only 17% (n=72) identified “Transferrable skills” such as being reliable and being a good team worker as important. 16% (n=71) reported that having “Connections and Knowing the right people” was important, while 14% (61) thought work experience is important. Only 8% (35) believed that having “Charisma and personality” would be relevant. This finding highlights the significant gap that exists between young people’s perceptions and employer expectations.

Levels of confidence in gaining employment, how this compares to previous generations, and concerns about securing a career after post-primary education.

  • 33% (n=146) of respondents indicated that they were either “confident” (24% n=105) or “very confident” (9% n= 41) in gaining employment in their ideal job. However, 45% (n= 196) were “unsure” and 16% (n= 69)“not really confident”. This was followed by 6% (n=25) who were “not confident at all”.

Length of time they might spend in their first job and the number of jobs they expect to have in their lifetime.

  • 45% (n=198) of the respondents expect to be working in their first job between 2 – 4 years. The second highest response 18% (n= 77) was for 1 year only.
  • The highest response to jobs that might disappear included “cashier either in a shop or bank” (54% n=234). This reflects a continuing trend for online shopping and banking. The second highest response 38% (n=167) was “newspaper/magazine journalist”, followed by “taxi driver” 34% (n=148).

 

Read the full report here.