New figures revealed today by young people’s jobs site GetMyFirstJob.co.uk show that coronavirus has had a major impact on career preference. Year-on-year there has been a huge rise in the proportion of young people wishing to work in childcare, health & social care, or education & training. Across these sectors, interest has risen by two-thirds (64%).
The figures form one of the most robust national assessments of post-education career preference. Over 25,000 school, college, and university leavers register with GetMyFirstJob every quarter and specify which sectors they would prefer to work in.
Comparing data from Q3 (July to September) 2019 to Q3 2020, childcare, health & social care, and education & training are the highest risers – now the second, fourth and sixth most popular career pathway choices for young people.
The largest percentage rise is in health & social care where the desire to work in this area rose by 79% year-on-year. Perhaps no surprise, given the crucial and inspiring role these workers have played in 2020. Interest in a career in childcare has risen by 66%, and in education & training by 50%.
IT is the most significant faller in the top 10 ranking, dropping from third to seventh. Despite the resilience and growth of this sector, it shows organisations wanting to recruit young talent need to ensure their message is clear, to engage the right candidates.
Commenting on the career preferences that have risen in popularity, Julie Hyde, Executive Director for Education & Training Strategy at awarding organisation NCFE, said: “These findings provide a good deal of optimism for the long-term of these sectors, which are so vital for our economy and society. We cannot underestimate however the impact so far of the recruitment challenges faced by the childcare and health and social care sectors, struggling with a critical shortfall in qualified staff and a historical drop in the number of young people and apprentices being recruited to fill the gap.
“Coupled with the fact that this age group has already been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, it is critical that we maximise the opportunity presented by the findings. This means supporting career development for young people, to satisfy the demand for skilled workers in a way the economy needs. We need to see an equal desire from employers to being open to recruit younger adults for these crucial roles.”
As a social enterprise, GetMyFirstJob helps connect young people – as well as their schools, colleges, and training providers – to employers searching for entry-level talent.
David Allison, CEO at GetMyFirstJob and TheTalentPeople, who co-founded the site following the last recession is optimistic about the opportunity for young people: “Despite the major challenges that exist at this unprecedented time, we’ve seen demand for young people increase in many areas. It’s reassuring to see that at a time when there is more need than ever before for those to join the caring professions, young people are rising to the challenge.”
Aaron, 18, from Bristol hopes to embark on a career in the care sector. He said: “During lockdown I realised how much I like helping and caring for people. My dad has worked in a pharmacy through the pandemic, and I have a strong belief that everyone has the right to live the fullest life possible, regardless of their age or ability, and I hope I can be part of making many people’s lives better.
“A career in care would provide me with a very satisfying and fulfilling way to earn a living and a great way to give back to others using my talents and passion. People want to work in this sector because we want to help, especially as I’m young – the virus might not affect us so much but we want to look after older people and make sure that we can give back to them.”
Layla, 21, from London, who would like to work in childcare, said: “I have an underlying passion for working with children. The main reason I am so passionate about a career in Early Years in particular, is because I just love the concept of being part of the early learning and development stages of a child’s life. Ultimately I am looking for a job that will allow me to make a difference and a career in childcare is what I believe will offer me this.”
Lindsey Doe, Managing Director of Tinies Daycare, one of the UK’s largest children’s providers, welcomes the rise in popularity of childcare: “In recent years we have seen a significant decline of qualified nursery practitioners entering the sector, so this is very good news, and I hope, a turning point. We know that working in the early years sector is an extremely rewarding career, and the evidence is clear that a high-quality workforce has a significant impact on the quality of provision and outcomes for children. Choosing to work in childcare is a solid career path for young people to embark on and we need more great people entering the sector, to help educate the next generation and support working parents.”