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Parents Lack Confidence to Support Their Child’s Career Aspirations

Despite parents being the number one influencer on the career decisions their children make, half worry that their level of understanding of today’s ever-changing career landscape could hinder their child’s future, according to EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services that influences the global economy.

No matter how young your child may be, you’ve surely heard them say, “I want to be ____ when I grow up.” It’s never too early to discuss your child’s future. You should start preparing when they’re young so they know what their options are. However, many parents have doubts that they can discuss their child’s future with them.

Almost thirty-seven percent of British parents admit they have reservations about discussing career options with their child, worrying they may give the wrong advice. A survey of 1,500 British parents reveals that thirty percent fear they don’t know enough about the range of jobs that exist today; twenty-nine percent feel they don’t know enough about what their child wants to do; while twenty-five percent said they simply don’t have the time to talk about career options with their child.

“Parents are often the first-port of call for children when looking for careers advice, but it seems that many feel ill-equipped to help their child take the vital first step after compulsory education,” states Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner for Talent at EY, UK & Ireland. “It’s understandable – the world of work is changing rapidly, with the impact of technology, the gig economy, and more new and alternative routes into the workplace than ever before.”

“Parents are often the first-port of call for children when looking for careers advice, but it seems that many feel ill-equipped to help their child take the vital first step after compulsory education.”

It’s not surprising that many parents don’t feel they have the confidence to discuss the full range of career options available with their kids. Nearly seventy-five percent of British parents believe they didn’t receive the guidance they needed themselves to pursue their dream job, and technology has changed since the parents were kids.

Nearly sixty-five percent of parents say they don’t feel wholly informed about the alternatives to university for their child – be they apprenticeships, gap years, or starting a business. That’s despite ninety-five percent of parents feeling that more young people doing apprenticeships straight out of school is a good thing for the UK as a whole.

The survey results show that attending a university is still seen as the sole option for a significant percentage of parents, regardless of the future career their child had chosen. A quarter of parents admitted “there was nothing to talk about” when it came to discussing career options with their child, as they were going to university after school – no question.

EY’s Parental Advice campaign in the UK, which aims to help bridge the information gap, arming parents with more information. The campaign is designed to provide parents with a bank of useful content and articles with tips and advice on the different options available to children to start their career.

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