Why parents want their children to choose a career in the trades

For many years, the most desirable careers have been prestigious roles such as doctor, lawyer or dentist, with children being encouraged to study at university to unlock higher-paying positions. However, new research from MyBuilder.com shows that parents are now hoping for a career in the trades for their children.

MyBuilder.com found that 15% of parents would choose a career as an electrician, builder, plumber or carpenter for their children – more than any other profession listed. But what is driving this shift in perspective, and how can we capitalise on the interest in trades roles to close the skills gap in this industry?

Career Choice For Children Report

According to the Career Choice For Children Report, the top five choices were:

  1. Tradesperson 15%
  2. Doctor 12%
  3. Software developer 12%
  4. Web developer 10%
  5. Lawyer 8%

Along with earning potential, some of the key considerations in the appeal of these roles for their children included working hours, work-life balance, and the progression of artificial intelligence in the workplace. As the modern world continues to develop, these additional considerations are starting to make some of the most traditionally desirable careers feel less enticing.

Read the full report for a more detailed look at the results.

Why are parents showing a preference for trades as a career choice?

The results showed an interesting split in the ages of respondents, with younger and older generations being most interested in a trade for their child’s career. This option was chosen by 18% of parents aged 18–34, and 15% of over-55s. Only 13% of the 35–54 demographic showed a preference for this route.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the main focus of the MyBuilder.com research was exploring how the current changes in technology and the rise in AI affect perceptions of job desirability. This could have some influence on the choices made by parents surveyed, as skilled labour such as construction and carpentry are less likely to be affected by AI than sectors with a more digital focus, such as marketing or banking.

Improving the uptake of trades after school

The construction industry continues to experience a skills shortage, in part due to an ageing workforce and the strains in recruiting from overseas following Brexit. Despite the ongoing shortages, the trades aren’t being pushed enough as a career option, particularly in comparison to higher education opportunities such as university.

Diana Montador, VP of Customer Insights at MyBuilder.com said: “Our data shows that parents are now seeing the appeal of a career in skilled trades for their children and we welcome any efforts to raise the profile of the industry to young people.”

With higher education being seen as the default route for children after school, many children are finding themselves encouraged into academic pathways even if they aren’t well suited to them. As well as putting further pressure on the industry, this means that many young people in the UK are entering into debt without the guarantee of a high-earning job after completing their degree.

It’s important that more schools push the idea of apprenticeships and less academic options such as BTECs as not only a viable but also an attractive option after school. While the initial few years of working as an apprentice will be at a low salary, the flexibility and earning potential of trade jobs offers exciting opportunities in just a few years’ time.

Unlock the potential of a career in the trades

From working as a part-time contractor to owning your own business, the possibilities are almost endless for those working in the trades. There will always be a need for skilled labourers in these sectors, offering career stability for many years to come.

Thinking about training to become an electrician? Take a look at our range of courses, or get in touch to discuss the most suitable option for you.

Back to blog