New Research Report:The Big Careers Conversation with Young People in England

Young people want career guidance but are struggling to find it.

“High quality careers guidance is essential for young people to expose them to the abundance of great opportunities that exist in the world of work including cyber security. More needs to be done early on to inspire and motivate young people to succeed.” Simon Hepburn, CEO, UK Cyber Security Council.

“With great clarity, Dr Hughes brings to life – and to our tables, both the authority of the voice of our young people and a sense of how they believe in us that we will listen and act. Such confidence and ambition cannot be ignored. They honour us with their trust. We must match them with our action.” Dame Ruth Silver CBE.

Those young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who need most support, are struggling to get access to professional career guidance.

“Earlier this year, City & Guilds uncovered the serious impact of the pandemic on young people’s decisions about their future. This latest report highlights many young people are still struggling to get good career guidance. Yet, the majority of school pupils are keen and willing to invest their own time in career learning activities. It’s more important than ever that investments are made in career guidance that benefit directly this generation and help close the skills gaps and shortages faced by our national economy.” Kristie Donnelly, City & Guilds, Group Director.

“This authoritative survey confirms the view that young people not only need help in making career choices, but they clearly want it, too. This is amplified by the disruption to their learning caused by the pandemic. It also underlines the additional barriers and challenges which continue to make life more difficult for disadvantaged young people.” Kieran Gordon, CEO, Careers England.

Early intervention in primary and career guidance in secondary schooling is essential from Year 7 onwards to prevent unconscious bias and gender stereotyping which can be hard to change later on.

“This excellent piece of research looks at careers provision through the eyes of its most important customers, young people themselves. It shows clearly just how clued-up young people are about the importance of understanding their options and preparing for their future. They are hungry to understand the relevance of what they are learning… We must continue to move away from careers education being something different that happens once a year at the end of a very long corridor.” Olly Newton, Executive Director, Edge Foundation.

“This report highlights just how much young people need and value careers advice, but that those who need it most are struggling to get the support they need. It provides compelling evidence that more needs to be done, with additional targeted support needed for schools. And I very much welcome its recommendation that early intervention is needed in primary schools to broaden children’s horizons and to help prevent unconscious bias and gender stereotyping.” Nick Chambers, CEO, Education and Employers Charity

Technology can play more of a role in modern dimensions of career guidance, complementing the work of careers and enterprise specialists.


“While some of the effects outlined in this report are clearly exacerbated by the pandemic, it highlights important areas that schools and policy-makers need to address, working with careers leadership and practitioners and based on the evidence of what works. Action to further improve career guidance in schools isn’t just about recovering from the pandemic, it’s about ensuring we maximise the fulfilment of each generation of young people and their contribution to the economy and society.” David Morgan, Chief Executive, Career Development Institute (UK)

“Ensuring that young people are aware of the opportunities in the post-pandemic workplace and how to prepare for them, is critically important. This important and timely study provides a clear snapshot of how well we are meeting this challenge and what we might all do to address current systemic failings”. Richard Marsh, Director of Apprenticeships, Kaplan Financial.

Click on the image above to download the full report

From July – September 2021, Dr Deirdre Hughes led a research project designed to capture the experiences of young people and what they think about careers support in schools/academies across England.

The research commissioned by ‘Launch Your Career’ involved:

* 3,615 pre-GCSE pupils from 52 schools/academies in 7 regions across England who responded to a national survey. This was distributed through schools and LinkedIn contacts, both online and in hard copy, including as part of 13 Summer School experiences.

*12 head teachers and careers leaders shared their views on England’s careers support system.

*39 employers from 14 key sectors in all regions, including nationwide employers, shared their views on young people’s ‘work-readiness’. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data and employer quotes from national skills shortages and skills gaps were also analysed.

For further details:

Contact: Deirdre Hughes, Research Director

Email: admin@dmhassociates.org

Tel: 07533 545057