Parents’ Career Advice to Their Kids – Sign of a Generation Gap?

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Recent research shows that there might be a “disturbing disconnect” between career advice parents give to their kids and the state of the current job market.

The survey, commissioned by O2, sampled 2000 parents in the UK. Results showed that 10% of parents would “actively discourage” their kids from IT jobs such as coding, with 23% insisting that they thought that skills within the digital sector were “irrelevant”. Between 2012 and 2013, there were twice as many students enrolled in courses for medicine rather than computer science.

This comes in direct contradiction to reports that indicate that Britain will require as many as 750,000 digital jobs by 2017 and a European commission warning that 50% of the population don’t have the necessary digital skills required for the current job market.

The UK government has however introduced changes to the curriculum which are to come into effect this autumn. The new curriculum will feature courses on coding, 3d printing and robotics. Hugh Milward, director of corporate affairs at Microsoft, heralded this as a positive change, and added that it was “absolutely critical” if Britain were to keep in mind the future of its new generation.

Further reports suggest that in the software industry, there are 20,000 vacancies but only about 7,500 computer science graduates to fill them. The government has been under pressure for introducing further reforms to its education and career advice sectors to properly inform the youth and “widen the pathway to higher digital skills”.