City & Guilds has launched a special edition of its Career Happiness Index. The Index surveyed 1100 18-24 year olds nationwide about their experiences in the workplace and found that although 63% of young people are happy at work, 78% identify a need for vocational, job-related qualifications once they have left education and enter the job market.
Whilst over three quarters of young people seek vocational training, only half as many (39%) look to academic qualifications to progress their careers. 42% of young people identify industry-specific training and apprenticeships as steps towards their dream jobs, and just under a third look to on-the-job training to secure their dream role. And it’s not just qualifications that pay off, but work experience too; a third of those surveyed attributed their current job to work experience in the field.
In fact the research as a whole challenges pre-conceptions of young people being lazy and lacking a working ethic. Instead today’s “millennials” are hard-working and eager to succeed. In fact, one in five of those surveyed had two or more jobs, and 68% were working by the time they were 18.
The happiest workers were those in scientific research, with 80% saying they were happy. This was followed by early years and childcare (74% happy) and florists/ gardeners (68% happy). In contrast, those working in construction were unhappiest, with just 45% happy in their roles. With 80% of young people saying that happiness affects their work, City & Guilds is calling on employers to step up and support young people to ensure they are as happy as possible, and supported in their career progression.
‘Employers must not underestimate young people,’ says Chris Jones, CEO and Director General of City & Guilds. ‘Instead, they need to support young people’s ambitions and provide opportunities for development and future career satisfaction. We need to give this generation the chance to thrive.’
Meanwhile, when it comes to choosing a career, parents continue to be the biggest source of inspiration for young people. Over a third of those surveyed were motivated to choose their current job by their parents, compared to only 4% who were inspired by celebrities, and 8% by employers. As for careers advice, again parents are the primary source (24%) matched only by work experience (24%).
‘It’s not surprising that young people turn to their parents for advice and inspiration,’ continues Chris. ‘Current careers advice in schools is inadequate and failing young people. Parents cannot be expected to know about the various routes and options available to their children. They need better support and better resources so they can provide informed, impartial advice.
‘Employers also have a role to play. We know young people benefit from direct interaction with employers. We know they want high-quality work experience placements. But we need commitment from employers to provide these opportunities so young people can make the most of their potential and find a career that makes them happy.’