There’s a lot of talk about what harm youngsters are exposed to in this day and age due to kids as young as 6 having iPads/smart phones making harmful content highly accessible. Early last year the ‘momo challenge’ also known as the suicide game featured a zombie character, telling naïve kids if they don’t follow the zombie’s instructions then they will be killed or they will release their private information. Black mirror episodes really are becoming real life! How times have changed since having a pink flip up Motorola phone with one contact in it – that one contact being the Motorola support team.

Stereotypes contribute to what roles kids feel is the most achievable. When I was younger the main ‘job’ that me and a lot of my fellow female classmates wanted to do was hairdressing or even a ballerina- why not a fire fighter? Because this is marketed as a man’s job. Funny enough, I did public services whilst I was at college and in a room full of men that wanted to be a fire fighter to ‘look good’- I was made to feel odd for choosing a ‘mans subject’. But was it in in bedded in my persona that I was meant to become a hairdresser? Not to get too deep into the nature vs nature debate, undeniably we all have innate features to our personality, but we are also a product of our environment and the reality is what we are exposed to moulds our values, beliefs and aspirations. Talent is being wasted because of gender, race and social background stereotyping.

You can’t be what you can’t see
Research from the careers report, shows that young people often have very narrow ideas about potential job options due to lack of exposure. Family, jobs they see in the media and the most perceived achievable type of work for their gender and background have a massive influence.
Research shows that in primary school, boys from wealthier homes are more likely to expect to become lawyers or managers while girls from deprived backgrounds are expecting to go into hairdressing or shop work. Boys from deprived backgrounds were particularly likely to want to go into careers such as sport or entertainment. There is no evidence that background, gender or race has any effects on the performance in a job that you love, it’s about the mindset behind it.

Make the dream realistic
According to ONS (office of national statistics) there was a huge gap between the career dream and the reality for most, when this age group had reached their early to late-20s, in 2017.
The report shows how few got the top choices they had hoped for.
• Only 1.4% had got jobs in the media or arts, such as a producer, actor or writer.
• Only 1.7% were in jobs such as the police or emergency services.
• Only about 1.7% became health professionals, such as dentists or pharmacists.
The most typical jobs for this demographic in their twenties included:
• sales assistants and cashiers
• caring and personal services
• teaching and education-related
• sales and marketing
• administration
• childcare
• financial services

For me personally, and I’m sure this is the case for most people reading this- I have to be passionate about something to be able to excel in it. So, what one of the numerous reasons this wasn’t the outcome was because society provided limited options.

Mummy when I grow up, I want to be a social influencer
New research carried out by revealed that as many as 17 per cent of 11-16 year olds want to be a social media influencer when they are older, outranking teacher and veterinarian; whilst one in eleven are aiming to become a YouTuber.

The top 5 aspiring job roles are as follows:
1. Doctor: 18%
2. Social Media Influencer: 17%
3. YouTuber: 14%
4. Veterinarian: 13%
5. Teacher: 9%

These results didn’t come shocking to me as I found during my time at University there was a huge influx of boys and girls wanting to be a social influencer and openly saying that’s what they want to be- whilst being in £52,000 worth of debt from choosing education back in 2016. Arguably following a trend rather than making an educated decision.

There are so many roles out there for people that steer away from your typical ‘dream’ job that gets advertised to us from before we can even talk. What about market researchers, data administrators or ethical hackers who can earn £80,000 a year? Just because you do a degree in psychology- doesn’t mean the only job you need to look for is a psychologist. Steer away from the norm and see what other jobs are on offer- you might surprise yourself!


Written By Sophia Ghahramani