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Parents dread giving careers advice more than explaining the ‘birds and the bees’

  • New research released today shows that parents feel out of touch with the world of work and unconfident guiding their children in career decisions
  • One in three young people say they don’t receive the career advice they need to achieve their goals and only 29% rate the career advice they receive in school as ‘good’ 
  • With well over half a million young people currently out of work 95% of parents want more ‘practical, hands-on’ career guidance for their children
 
Parents feel ill-equipped to give their children careers advice, with more saying that talking to their children about career options is a worse conversation to have than talking to their teenagers about sex education.
 
According to new research released today by global recruitment specialist PageGroup, a quarter of parents (24%) feel ‘not qualified at all’ to guide their children on career decisions, and more than half (55%) worry that the advice they do give is out of date and out of touch. 
 
The speed of change in the world of work was a key reason cited by parents for feeling they can’t offer good advice (56%) while half (50%) say it is because they are unaware of new jobs and emerging sectors. On a related note, three out of ten (30%) parents think their own role or profession could even become obsolete by the time their teenage children enter the world of work. 
 
Speaking also to young people in education, the research showed a lack of confidence in school career guidance. While almost half of the 14-18 year olds surveyed rate their parents’ help and advice as good, less than a third (29%) say the same for school career guidance. Meanwhile 35% say they do not receive the careers advice and support they need in order to achieve their goals.
 
The impact of this became apparent when talking to the third sample group – young people in their first jobs. Three-quarters (76%) of the young people who revealed they feel ‘dissatisfied’ at work say the careers advice they received at school was ‘not useful’, while 20% would go as far as directly blaming it for their current discontent. 
 
Nick Kirk, Regional Managing Director, PageGroup, commented: “With the latest youth unemployment figures showing some 591,000 16-24 years olds are currently out of work it is hardly surprising parents are becoming concerned or feeling out of their depth. As a consequence, 95% of the parents we asked believe that employers and recruitment specialists should go into classrooms to give practical, real-world advice. 
 
“This is exactly where companies like PageGroup should be stepping in. Our experts have been running bespoke careers workshops across the country for the past two years – and the feedback we’ve received has been phenomenal. Leaving education and entering the world of work is a daunting milestone, and we find many of the young people we talk to share the same concerns as their parents. As recruitment experts and experienced professionals, it’s our job to ensure the next generation are equipped with the right information and advice to land on their feet, no matter what goal they’re pursuing.”
 
Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE stated: "Parents can play a key role in their children's career decisions, but their views are often limited to their own personal experiences. Most do not feel sufficiently equipped to guide their children given education and employment have advanced rapidly since they themselves were at school. A culture change in careers provision is necessary. The current fragmented and incoherent careers support system in England will lead to more young people falling between the cracks not knowing where best to go for careers support within and beyond their formal schooling."