With many students now approaching their graduation at the end of the school term, recent research has found that the most significant motivator for career direction among 18-24-year-olds is being encouraged by their school or college.
The report, by global emerging talent and reskill provider, mthree, found that more than a third of students (37%) attribute their career decisions, such as pursuing a career in technology, to encouragement from their school or college/sixth form (30%).
Interestingly, the majority of reasons that were cited for pursuing a career in technology were the same for both males and females. These included being pushed towards a career in tech by their parents (14%) and because they had completed a degree in a related subject (9% of males and 10% of females).
However, the research did find that whilst only 8% of males felt encouraged to pursue a career in tech by their friends, over 13% of females gave this as their primary motivation. Similarly, whilst 9% of males were inspired by a high-profile person, or role model within the sector, 13% of females stated that this was their biggest motivator. This suggests that social influence and having recognisable role models is particularly significant to young girls. With women making up just 19% of the technology industry across the UK, there is a real need for more positive representations of women in technology in the media that can encourage further female uptake of careers in the sector.
Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree, commented: “Whilst it’s great to see the significant role that educational establishments have in encouraging students to pursue a career in technology, it also highlights how students with potential could be missed, if schools do not advocate career paths such as that of tech.
“The technology industry is thriving, however, when you consider the diversity problem tech and many other sectors are currently experiencing, addressing the gender imbalance by looking at young people’s motivations for when they chose a career, can go some way to resolving the problem. Our research findings are a further reminder of how, to attract women to pursue careers in the sector, recognisable role models and positive representations of women in the industry, are essential.
“Schools and businesses can take active steps to promote careers in the sector as well as advocating technology jobs as a viable career path for female candidates.
“Introducing role models to young girls whilst at school, arranging for inspirational leaders in the field to come in and to discuss their role, can encourage students, and girls, in particular, to see the wide breadth of opportunity that the sector can offer.
“Similarly, for businesses, having a greater presence at recruitment fairs and university open days can be a keyway to not only introduce those to the sector, but also as a great opportunity to identify candidates that may have the necessary skills.”
“By demonstrating the extensive opportunities within technology and understanding young people’s motivations when considering a career, the technology sector can welcome more suitable candidates that have the relevant skills, to thrive within the industry.”