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Pearson Survey Results (2013) – A third of young people get careers advice from TV

survey2A third of young people get careers advice from TV

  • One in ten girls looks to ‘celebrities’ for careers advice
  • Only one in three teachers confident they are providing legally required careers advice
  • Call for greater links between schools and business leaders

Figures published in 2013 on careers information at school found that over a third of all secondary school pupils surveyed (37%) used television programmes to help them decide what jobs they might like to do after leaving school. Visit:

The study also reveals that over one in ten girls (11%) currently look to celebrities for inspiration about their future careers. This compares to less than one in twenty boys (4%). Celebrities are an even more popular source of careers inspiration than business people, with only 9% of girls currently hearing from people who run businesses.

The findings were revealed in two YouGov polls commissioned by education company, Pearson, which asked teachers and pupils from across the country about sources available for careers advice and current provision in schools. This is part of a wider body of research by Pearson to investigate how careers services in schools could be better served and supported, and will inform their product development of future services to schools and pupils.

Analysis also revealed that despite schools having a legal duty to provide impartial careers advice since September 2012, only a third of teachers (34%) surveyed were confident their school is actually doing so, and less than a fifth (19%) understood how the new statutory requirement would be monitored. This is despite 90% of teachers thinking high-quality independent careers guidance at school is important.

Despite turning to popular culture for advice, pupils have a clear desire to hear from people running businesses. While the poll found that only 10% of all pupils currently get advice from business people, given the choice, 31% of pupils would prioritise getting information from them.

President of Pearson UK, Rod Bristow, said:

“The quality and availability of careers advice has a huge impact on the choices young people make about their futures, so it can’t afford to be anything less than excellent.

“Television inspires and informs, but the expectations it creates can’t always reflect the opportunities available in the real world.

“It’s encouraging young people want to hear directly from business leaders, so making this happen should be a clear priority.

“Every young person should be confident the choices they make during school will take them a step closer to their chosen career and fulfilling their potential.”

And on the lack of teacher confidence in delivery of a statutory careers service:

“With so few teachers confident their pupils are receiving the basic careers advice they need, more effort needs to be put into using technology and connecting with resources and people outside the school gates.”

Nick Chambers, Director of the charity, Education and Employers Taskforce, which runs Inspiring the Future says:

“As this survey shows, too many young people have to rely on TV and media for their ideas about careers. This has a distorting effect on young peoples’ understanding of what jobs are really like and the career options open to them. It’s vitally important that pupils meet people doing a wide range of jobs and get first-hand insights.”

Warwick University IER has been spear-heading partnerships making greater use of the UKCES ‘LMI for All’ portal in local schools and colleges to improve usage in websites, classroom apps and other relevant applications across England. For further details:

Contact: Professor Jenny Bimrose, Dr Sally-Anne Barnes or Dr Deirdre Hughes at:

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DMH & Associates Ltd offers high quality services drawing on the international, national and local evidence base for careers work. We work in partnership with a wide range of organisations to find innovative and practical ways of developing effective careers policies, research and practice.
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