What do young people want for their future careers?

Mar 28, 2023 | Attraction & marketing

Reflecting on the results from their 2023 Student Survey, Uptree explains how students feel about their future careers and jobs.

Uptree’s research and knowledge about young people showcases to employers what Generation Z will be looking for from employers. It helps them understand their career aspirations and what they can do to support them.

A visible shift in preferences for post-secondary education can also be seen in the survey. Compared to Uptree’s student survey last year, there is a 6% decrease in students planning to go to university.

At the same time, there is an 11% increase in the number of young people within Uptree’s network who plan to pursue apprenticeships. These results could offer valuable insights for employers looking to attract and nurture the upcoming talent pool.


Industries of interest

The results of the survey indicate a significant level of interest amongst young people in a diverse range of industries.

Uptree found that 47% of the respondents are interested in business, finance, and professional services, whilst 42% expressed interest in STEM fields.

Additionally, 31% of respondents revealed an interest in pursuing a career in law, while 22% expressed an interest in marketing, media, and creative industries.

The survey also found that 9% of respondents are interested in pursuing a career in pharmaceuticals, whilst 8% show an interest in the insurance sector.

These findings highlight the need for a range of opportunities to be offered to students to ensure they can pursue their career interests and aspirations.

Uptree’s advice for companies is to keep an active presence in schools and find an accessible way to share information about the organisation and industry.


Motivations for choosing a career

The recent survey has also revealed some intriguing insights into the motivations of young people when it comes to choosing their career paths.

According to the findings, the primary reason (72%) for a young person to pursue a career in a particular industry is because they feel their talents and passions align.

Additionally, 57% of respondents cited meaningful work as a key factor in their decision-making process, whilst 56% identified competitive pay as a major consideration.

Interestingly, only 46% of respondents state that the variety of jobs available in an industry played a role in their decision-making, and 38% feel it was important to see creativity and innovation being encouraged.

Whilst these findings suggest that young people are primarily motivated by personal alignment and meaningful work, they also highlight the importance of competitive pay as a factor in attracting and retaining early talent.

Young people today want meaningful careers that align with their passions and encourage innovation. Uptree encourages employers to foster personal and professional progression by demonstrating how they support new employees, and openly discuss the available pathways for to attract and retain young talent.


Lack of industry knowledge

The results of the survey suggest that young people have the least knowledge about the insurance industry, with 27% of respondents indicating a lack of familiarity with available careers in that field.

Pharmaceuticals came in at a close second, with 24% of respondents admitting to limited knowledge of job opportunities in that industry. STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) followed at 14%, whilst marketing, media, and creative fields came in at 16%, and law at 11%. The business and finance sector came in last at 7%.

While it is understandable that certain industries may be less familiar to young people based on their interests and experiences, it is crucial for them to explore various career paths and understand the opportunities available to them.

As the job market continues to evolve, having a diverse range of knowledge and skills can be advantageous in securing long-term career success.

Employers can focus on educating students about their industry to support their future talent pipelines in a variety of ways, whether creating student-friendly content or running Work Experience Days at their company.


Career plans

The findings show that 42% identify parents as the primary influence on their career decisions, 40% say role models and teachers have significant impact on their career plans, and only 18% of young people identify friends and ‘other influences’ as their primary career influencers.

Uptree encourages employers to guide parents as they have a huge influence on young people’s decisions after school and college and to make sure that they are familiar with the advantages of apprenticeships.

It is also imperative for companies to increase their brand and industry awareness as apprenticeships are still considered an alternative pathway.


Career prospects: Concerns about experience and clarity

The results of the survey demonstrate that many students are uncertain about their career prospects, struggling to find the necessary experience and clarity.

This underlines the strong influence of the pandemic and that it has taken a heavy toll on the mental wellbeing of young people. Unfortunately, students are still unsure about their future careers and raise concerns.

Career guidance programmes play a crucial role in helping young people manage their anxiety and uncertainty. Employers can support them by providing more opportunities for students to experience and understand the world of work, such as career events with motivational speakers from their company, speaking about career opportunities within the organisation.


Concluding tips

  • Today, young people look for self-growth within the workplace. Promote personal and professional development in order to engage, inspire, attract and retain young talent.
  • Raise awareness of your apprenticeship programmes by educating parents as well as young people about the benefits of your schemes.
  • Use bite-sized content to educate young people on the career opportunities available to them and shed a light on the industry.
  • Demonstrate how your company fosters a sense of belonging, creates a meaningful work space and supports employee wellbeing.


You may also be interested in…

How Arm and Uptree are engaging school students in STEM careers

What does student careers engagement in 2022 teach us for 2023?

What students want from campus recruitment

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