IP Outreach Research > IP Creation


Title: Ready for the future? Young people's views on work and careers
Author: Duncan O'Leary and Hannah Green [Demos]

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

Year: 2007


Subject/Type: Creativity, Innovation
Focus: Success Factors
Country/Territory: United Kingdom
Objective: To explore young people's attitudes towards work and skills, and to find out whether they have the skills that will be needed to drive innovation in the future.
Sample: 300+ 15-16 year olds across the UK
Methodology: Survey

Main Findings

Young people consider the following factors most important in getting a job (in order of importance): qualifications, personality, work experience, and good communication skills.

However, they seem less aware of the importance of developing interpersonal and creative skills in addition to formal qualifications: when asked to identify the top three personal qualities helping them to find a job in adult life, they opt for hardworking over four times as often as for creative, and for reliable more than three times as often as for creative. A higher percentage of respondents believe that they learn creativity at school (about 30%) than believe that it is actually an important skill to learn (about 15%). Data are similar for resourcefulness: being resourceful scores higher among young people as something they learn at school (slightly under 30%), rather than as something they expect to be important in the working world (slightly under 20%).

Young people evaluate themselves as hardworking (nearly 50%), reliable (40%) and determined (about one third) above all else. They give themselves lower scores for being a good communicator (20%), being resourceful (slightly over 10%) and being creative (slightly over 20%). Just 4% would definitely plan to start their own business/charity, compared to 13.1% of the population at large owning a business/being self-employed.

According to the authors, this suggests that the creative skills that will be necessary to drive innovation in the future appear to be undervalued by young people. The recognition of the importance of a work ethic needs to be complemented by an appreciation of the value of creativity. Learning skills should complement learning knowledge. Elements helping to convey the importance of creativity and resourcefulness to young people are the school system, parents, the Internet, careers services and personal interests.

[Date Added: Nov 20, 2008 ]