One of the best ways to get young people thinking about the type of work they might want in the future is to encourage them to explore as many jobs as possible. There are probably more jobs out there than they realise and some surprising ones too. Keeping up-to-date with new and emerging jobs isn’t easy but don’t forget that in some industries, the workforce is getting older which means new entrants are also needed to replace those who retire even in sectors that aren’t growing.
When exploring careers, it makes sense to also explore the current labour market and future predictions at the same time. Every region around the UK will have its own priorities when it comes to the types of skills needed to fill local vacancies – in fact, you can break it right down to district level where strategies are being developed to support local employers. Some sectors such as life sciences, TV and film, transport equipment manufacturing, food and drink production and aerospace have clusters of employers in certain areas of the country but there are some industries where the types of jobs are so important to supporting the UK economy that they’ve become a priority across the whole country. These include sectors such as the visitor economy (tourism and hospitality), the creative industries (gaming, apps, marketing, the media), health and care work, technology and engineering.
Other areas of work where high level skills are in growing in demand include life sciences and the ‘green’ economy – jobs with the environment in mind. Information and communication technology skills are also high on the agenda if the UK is to remain a ‘big player’ globally so training to become a cyber security, computer programming or big data expert means there should be plenty of opportunities.
But it’s not just highly skilled jobs where the vacancies are. Employers across the country are looking to recruit HGV drivers, care workers, customer service advisers and some roles in hospitality and catering. Any job that’s difficult to recruit for due to ‘skills shortages’ – when an employer can’t find candidates with the skills they need – means that for the time being, those jobs will be in demand.
Some industries are struggling to attract young people because they have a poor image, however much of a misconception that might be. Or that a job might be perceived as ‘not for me’ because of gender stereotyping. Good labour market information can help break down these barriers and there are some good initiatives out there to tackle the gaps. A lack of awareness of the range of jobs on offer also contributes to a lack of take-up in some sectors. To dismiss a career before researching its potential means any choices made won’t be fully informed and therefore limiting.
So encourage individuals to really delve deep into the all the roles on offer in a sector, show them videos of people talking about how much they love their job and the different paths they took to get there. And make sure they don’t just gravitate to the jobs they’re familiar with. Help them to interpret the labour market data for different jobs and take advantage of all the brilliant resources on offer which combine both job role and labour market information – they could open up a whole new world for someone.