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How do attitudes to careers and employment aspirations differ across generations?

Sands, Rosalyn (2011) How do attitudes to careers and employment aspirations differ across generations? MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This research paper seeks to examine the reasons behind people’s career aspirations and the decisions they make about careers. Through a series of twelve semi-structured interviews I have identified a range of factors which have shaped the direction of travel in both education and careers. By working with participants from across four age groups, ranging from 11 to 70, I have also been able to identify which of these factors varies across generations and which remain the same. The factors which affected aspirations and choice of careers could be categorized under six themes: • Social position • Family • Friends and peers • Teachers and school environment • The media and role models • Other factors The most significant factor in shaping career choice was under the theme of the family. The nature of this influence was complex and involved both positive factors such as encouragement and practical support, and negative factors such as excessive pressure to succeed. Despite existing research suggesting that friends and peers play an important role in shaping the choices young people make, there was very little evidence of that in this study. Similarly participants felt the media had very little influence on their career choices, however there was a marked difference in access to the media across the age groups and this presented some interesting findings. By comparison the role of the teachers and experiences of school consistently influence people for the future although, for the participants in this study the practical application of careers education and guidance appears to have had very little effect. Perhaps most interestingly the study highlights an apparent incongruence between a continued focus on guiding young people towards making comprehensive and structured career plans, whilst recognizing that for many people the career path they take in life is not rigidly planned but often arrived at by chance and shaped by a host of unpredictable life experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Keywords: Education Career choice Employment
Academic Units: The University of York > Educational Studies (York)
Depositing User: Miss Rosalyn Sands
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2011 14:20
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1734

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