Youth perspectives: What will the future of work in the UK look like?
What will work in the UK look like in the next 10 years? How
will people learn? Who is inspiring the next generation? All
questions to which we would like to know the answers. Given that
none of us has the gift of future sight, the best we can do is ask
young people (and adults) what they think is likely to happen, and
where they see themselves in the future.
Our forthcoming report, Making Sure Tomorrow
Works, is a peek into the future through the eyes of 1500
young people aged 14 to 20, and a comparison with the views of 1000
adults. The City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development asked
some key questions and the results might surprise you.
Confidence and concerns
We found that young people are optimistic for their own futures,
although they are less so for the UK as a whole. They strongly
believe that hard work and skills are rewarded, and they think that
they themselves will have a decent standard of living, and may well
own their own home in 10 years’ time. However, they have doubts
about the UK economy maintaining its global competitiveness, and
they are unconvinced that people in their generation will be
as financially wealthy as their parents.
Girls are not quite as interested as boys in gaining enterprise
skills, and are less likely to see self-employment in their future.
Confidence in careerchoices increases with age from 14 to 20. Those
from higher qualified/occupational backgrounds are concerned about
their lack of a clear idea about which career to choose, but it is
those from lower qualified/occupational backgrounds who want better
sources of advice.
The desire to improve mathematics skills is much higher among
those from less highly qualified/occupational backgrounds. There is
a great deal of commonality in the views of adults and young people
in certain areas (such as the future costs of learning and lifelong
learning). However, adults were less convinced than young people
that a good degree from a good university remains the best
guarantee of a good career throughout life and were more worried
than young people about the value of their pension, but 47% of
young people still express concern about how valuable their pension
will be during retirement.
So, what do the results really tell us? They raise a lot of
questions about how young people are interpreting the messages they
receive about what the future might look, and how they are
preparing. One thing is for certain, young people are ready and
willing to work hard. They are taking very little for granted, and
it is up to all of us to help them prepare.
There are some key messages for employers (young people are
ambitious, and you can make the most of this), for government and
policy-makers (young people need careers guidance and work
experience to develop realistic expectations and ambitions), for
all of us (girls need more and better role models in business), and
for careers guidance providers (all young people are struggling
with some aspect of career planning, and you have a great
opportunity to help them make good choices).
Are you ready to play your part in making sure tomorrow
About the author
Claire Donovan is the Senior Manager for Policy &
Practice at the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development.
Previously, between 2007 and 2011, she was the Policy Manager for
Semta, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and
Manufacturing Technologies, UK.
Making Sure Tomorrow