Parents favour professional services for children's career

24 May 2019 3 min. read
More news on

New research from technology firm Siemens has found that while the majority of parents would rather their child be happy than successful, a large number still favour their offspring choosing a professional services career. Accountancy, banking and finance were among the most popular careers that parents in the UK want for their children.

The future of the UK’s economy is looking increasingly reliant on the thriving off its technological talent pool. According to a study by the MCA, a stronger emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in British education is essential if tomorrow’s workforce is to be suitably equipped for entry into the market.

Echoing this growing societal consensus, a new poll from technology giant Siemens has found that most parents now hope their children will enter the technology sector. Siemens surveyed 1,500 parents to better understand the types of careers they actively encouraged their children to pursue. Engineering and manufacturing came top, voted for by 27% of mothers and 21% of fathers. This was closely followed by coding and computers (32% and 13%) as the next most preferred fields. At the same time, healthcare ranked fourth, while IT placed fifth.

Parents favour professional services for children's career

While overall, parents tended toward STEM subjects, with some admitting that they were actively encouraging their child in a certain direction, financial services also positioned highly. Accountancy, banking and finance was the third-most favoured career field. Despite the high levels of stress, long hours and intense public scrutiny this sector faces, parents are nonetheless enamoured by the financial security a financial sector role promises. At the same time, none of the surveyed mothers wanted their child to have a career in sales, while only 1% of fathers voted for retail.

In a statement accompanying the research, Brenda Yearsley, Schools and Education Development Manager at Siemens, said, “What the poll shows is that parents want their kids to work hard and do a job they really enjoy. It is great to see that engineering tops Mum’s choices and shows how the industry’s efforts to engage young people are having a positive impact. The research shows that engineering is shedding its image as a job undertaken by men on a factory floor and people are now seeing how those types of roles will really shape the future.”

In line with Yearsley’s comments, more than 80% of parents ranked happiness as being the most important factor in their child’s future career – more so than success. Interestingly, however, the jobs parents believe their children should chase are not the ones adults seem happiest in.

A recent survey of the UK’s freelance workforce found that the best paid roles were almost never the most desirable ones, with photography, music and acting each proving more desirable than being a lawyer, investment consultant, or software developer. While parents might favour a life in the professional services sector for their children, then, it might be worth bearing in mind that when they have flown the nest, their offspring may likely have other ideas.