We like to deal with facts, which is why we think it’s important to share the cold hard truths that have fed our mission to date, and perhaps, in some way, light a spark in all of you to get involved in the project any way you can.
- FACT: Stereotypes are embedded between 5 and 7 years of age.*
The thing is, this really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but when you see it right there, those ten words put together paint an immediate picture around why there is still a massive lack of diversity in the workplace. Big leap? Read on.
- FACT: There is very little change in aspiration between 7 and 17 years of age.*
So let’s look at these two facts together. In their early years, children begin to believe that certain jobs are for certain people and then, once they start to form ideas around the world of work at this age, unless this mindset is challenged, these limitations of thought continue to restrict and become further ingrained. By the time they get to secondary school, the work of careers guidance is to then break down preconceived ideas of what is accessible to young people, rather than spending time facilitating and supporting dreams and aspirations.
- FACT: There is a disconnect between what children are aspiring to be at school aged 15 and what jobs will exist when they are 30.*
This disconnect can be addressed by engagement with the working world from an earlier age. There needs to be positive connections between employers and schools, and information about what jobs exist now. Furthermore, there is a direct correlation between children’s socioeconomic background and the lack of understanding about what level of education is needed to become certain professions, which leads to disappointment, lack of confidence and negative associations within the world of work.
- FACT: NOT ONLY has career guidance long had a purpose in enabling efficient operation of the labour market. It ALSO serves an equally important service in addressing inequality.*
When a child sees people that look like them in the working world, they quickly accept that the job is accessible to them, and of course, the opposite is true of this too. It is very difficult to be what you cannot see.
- FACT: 47% of 15 year old boys and 53% of 15 year old girls said they expected to work in one of just TEN occupations by the age of 30.*
While the world of work has made enormous changes over the last 20 years, the career aspirations of young people have changed little over the same period.*
These occupations are Doctors, Teachers, Business Managers, Lawyers, Nurses, Psychologists, Designers, Vets, Police Officers and Architects. Now I’m not saying that these are bad occupations to get into, but think about how many different jobs exist in the world. And also, why isn’t Chocolatier on this list? Or Landscape Gardener or Bio-medical systems analyst? Young people can only aspire to something if they know that that job actually exists! And how do you know that a job exists? Because you either see it in your day to day life, you know someone that does it or you have learnt about it in school.
With all these facts it’s easy to see that what our campaign is trying to do will make a positive dent in stereotypes and will engage children at an earlier age with the world of work.
My Son started school this week. I walked him down to class for the first time and as I was walking up to the gate I started thinking about the effect that Covid has had on education, more specifically, career guidance. How far down the list of priorities is engagement with the working world? How can we recreate significant engagement with real people doing real jobs?
If you are an employer then get in touch and work with us to showcase some of your incredible roles, and your talented people!
If you are an individual challenging stereotypes in your role and you want to broaden children’s horizons, get in touch!
If you know people that would be brilliant at engaging young people about your industry or occupation, then share share share!
*Taken from OECD/PISA Study 2018 Dream Jobs: Teenage Aspirations and the Future of Work.