Mojomums were interested to hear that research reveals that parents could be limiting their child’s future career decisions by having outdated perceptions of the jobs they think boys and girls are interested in.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) released the findings to mark the launch of its Engineer a Better World campaign which also found that only 7 per cent of parents would encourage their girl to pursue a career in engineering.
Parents of girls stated that their child would be most interested in pursuing a career in education and childcare (32%), the arts (29%), healthcare (26%) and hair and beauty (23%).
In contrast, parents of boys stated that they thought Information Technology (47%), Sport (33%) and Engineering (28%) were all sectors that would appeal to their child.
As part of the research, IET also explored the perceptions of the engineering profession amongst parents and their children. When asked what they knew about engineering, 54 per cent of children stated that they didn’t know anything about careers in the industry. When it comes to their interest in pursuing a career in engineering, girls are twice as likely than boys to say that they are not interested in finding out about careers in Engineering.
IET also gave parents and children some information on the exciting careers available in the engineering sector. After seeing a little information on some of the careers available, both parents and children were much more interested in what the sector had to offer. In fact, 72 per cent of parents agreed that they would encourage their child to pursue engineering as a career.
Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of Engineering UK, said: “As a community we need to overcome negative and/or outdated perceptions of engineering to encourage more young people to consider it as a career option. Campaigns such as Engineer a Better World help showcase the range of fantastic opportunities offered by engineering and crucially, give parents the information and tools they need to support the potential engineers of the future.”
So, are we holding our children back by not encouraging them to look into all career options? A quick survey around the Mojomums office showed that many of our children are also considering ‘stereotypical’ career choices – with some of our sons thinking of working in computer science, business studies and even contagious disease research and daughters talking of becoming fashion designers and artists.
Is this ‘holding them back’? Or is this looking at career options in areas that they are interested in, that hopefully will last a lifetime? We would love to hear your thoughts….
The IET suggests the following starting points for parents with children who might be interested in learning more about engineering:
- Faraday: http://faraday.theiet.org/ The IET’s collection of online engineering teaching resources
- First Lego League: http://firstlegoleague.theiet.org/ The IET’s global science and technology competition for teams of students
- Tomorrow’s Engineers: http://www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk/_resources/documents/2025_-_enguk_parents_leaflet_web_(2).pdf Information and resources about the amazing careers available in engineering
- Your Life: http://yourlife.org.uk/ A campaign to ensure young adults in the UK have the maths and science skills needed to succeed in the current competitive global economy
For more information about the Engineer a Better World Campaign and to read the full report, visit www.engineer-a-better-world.org.