Skip to main content

Resource Hub Blog

How much do Parents affect the career decision process?

Parent careers help

This is the second in our series of 'Pathways takeaways' looking at the Next Generation reports produced by UCAS. This snippet will focus on the importance of parental influence over course and career decisions.

According to the UCAS ‘Project Next Generation’ report, Parents are key knowledge providers of careers information from Y9-Y11 with almost a third of students saying that their parents have done most of the work to improve decisions about their post 18 options.

Parent stat

Along with this, students gain the most understanding of careers from their exposure to the experiences of family and friends. This increases their knowledge of these careers. In fact a UCAS study showed that there is a direct correlation between subject choice and parents' own careers. For example, the report highlights that a third of students who reported having a parent/ carer who is an artist, were studying creative arts and design courses. This clearly illustrates the influence parents and friends have over a student's career choice.

There is also a tendency, perhaps understandably, for parents to try to guide young people towards pathways that are safe (in terms of getting a job) or careers that offer financial stability. Whilst this is offered in good faith, it can sometimes have a negative effect on the young person's decision process as it can put pressure on them to make choices that might not be right for them - 48% of young people agree that they feel quite a lot of pressure from parents to make good decisions about future careers.

This could well be a factor as to why, in year 12, parent's influence over career decisions drops dramatically. At this stage we see young people turning to their teachers to gain further knowledge and understanding of their choices.

There’s obviously other potential factors as to why this might be - for example, in Year 12 young people are starting to become more independent and are looking to make their own decisions. It could also be true to say that young people believe that their parents lack up to date career knowledge and they are turning to their teachers at school, who they trust to have the information they need.

So it’s obvious that parents have a key role to play in helping young people make decisions about their future, but their knowledge is limited to their own experience and to a job market that was relevant to them now and when they were starting out. They can also be biased in their reasoning for choosing certain career paths which can have a negative effect on a young person's well being as well as their decision process.

With this in mind, and knowing the influence parents have over course and career choices, it's essential that we offer them access to relevant and up to date information to enable them to successfully guide young people to make the right decisions for their future.

Pathways One and Pathways Graduate show real student outcomes from courses, allowing students and their parents to see the direct link between your courses and careers. The tools show key labour market information and illustrate the many different job options each course can lead to, educating young people about career options that they may not have thought of or even heard of.

Pathways Graduate in Bradford University's Law LLB (Hons) course page
Pathways Graduate in Bradford University's Law LLB (Hons) course page

Alternatively Pathways Explore can be used to allow young people to discover and research over 850 different career options. Each career is then linked to the relevant courses that you offer.

These tools give parents the up-to-date careers information they need to allow them to understand the relationship between courses and career pathways and help young people step confidently into the future.

How to buy

Simple and affordable annual pricing based on your number of full-time students. Schools have an individual price. Get full access to the products your institution needs.

View pricing

Try for free

We offer a no obligation one month free trial with no upfront payment required. We'll set you up with a free account during which time you'll have full access.

Free trial