EY: Parental advice leaves out alternatives to university

18 December 2014 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

Parents play an important part in the career choice process of their children, reveals research by EY. The survey shows that 70% of parents prefer their child to attend university, and 50% admitted to try to influence their children’s choice. Only a quarter of students received information on alternatives to university, although the research also shows that this information is often not easy to find. As such, parents, schools and employers should cooperate more, concludes EY.

Professional services firm EY, graduate recruitment specialists GTI Media, and the Association of Graduate Careers Services (AGCAS) recently released a new research into the career choices path of students and the influence of parents on this process. For the research, the consortium surveyed 3,383 university students and 807 parents in the UK.

EY, GTI Media and Association of Graduate Careers Services

The research shows that parents have a significant influence on all aspects of their children’s future careers, and half of the parents surveyed admitted to try to influence their children’s choice of university, degree and future job or career. The vast majority, 66%, of students stated to feel comfortable with their parents influencing their career choices as “it’s the right thing for parents to do.”

Around 70% of the parent respondents stated to encourage their children to go to university, of which 43% feel that a university degree will improve the career options of their children, more than doing an apprenticeship, school-leaver programme or by joining the job market after college. Almost three out of four (27%) students stated not to receive any advice on alternatives to university. “The survey results would suggest that for many parents, university is still seen as the default option and the safest route to achieving career success. Whereas in reality, entering the workplace straight after A-Levels can play to the strengths of highly-focused students and provide them with a real head-start in their careers,” explains Julie Stanbridge, Head of Student Recruitment at EY.

Julie Stanbridge, EY

Alternatives to university
Although most parents prefer their children to attend university, the survey also highlights the fact that information on alternatives is not always easy to find. As much 76% of the parents do not know where to find advice online about these alternatives, and 63% said they are reliant on career advisors and careers events as their only source of information. “There is clearly a real need for greater engagement between parents, schools and employers to ensure that they are equipped with all the information they need to advise their children about the breadth of opportunities available. Employers could consider exploring opportunities to get involved with parent’s evenings, establish closer relationships with career advisors as well as encouraging former students to return to their old schools to discuss their experiences on a school-leaver programme or apprenticeship,” concludes Stanbridge.