The vast majority of young people still believe university is the only route to a good career, according to a report out today from leaders in skills development, City & Guilds. The report, ‘Great Expectations’, found that over two thirds (68%) of 14-19 year olds planned to go to university despite a third of them not knowing what they would study.

The survey of over 3,000 14-19 year olds found young people were largely misinformed about how to secure their dream job with little understanding of the best routes to get there. Despite 70% of young people claiming they have the information needed to pursue their future career, only 28% of respondents thought previous work experience matters. In contrast recent City & Guilds research found that most employers (78%) see it as essential.

Teenagers also had a low awareness of the range of jobs available when it came to choosing their dream career – two thirds of all the available jobs were entirely overlooked by respondents. City & Guilds worked with economic modellers EMSI to map responses against the available jobs now and in the future to show the mismatches between aspiration and reality and found that;

  • 26% of respondents would like to work in professional, scientific and technical roles, whereas the proportion of people working in the sector is forecast to be 9% in 2022.
  • 19% wanted to work in education, whereas just 8% of the population will be employed in this sector in 2022.
  • 19% of respondents selected IT as their industry of choice, yet the proportion of people who will be working in the sector in 2022 is predicted to be just 4%.
  • In contrast, just 3% opted to work in the wholesale and retail, or motorcycle and motor vehicle repair, sectors when 15% of all jobs will be available in these industries.
Kirstie Donnelly MBE, managing director, City & Guilds said: "Today’s findings highlight a concerning mismatch between the aspirations of young people and the reality of the jobs market they will be entering.

"While university is a great path for many people, it’s not the only one. It’s time we told our young people the truth about the best way to get into work and broadened their horizons so they understand the full range of jobs available. Employers need much more involvement in schools and colleges and young people need more opportunities to interact with employers to inform and inspire them about a far greater range of jobs. They also need to be given access to impartial careers advice informed by the local labour market so they know that they are selecting careers in areas where jobs will be available to them."