The Big Career Conversation - report

Year of Publication: 

From July – September 2021, Dr Deirdre Hughes led a research project designed to capture the experiences of young people and what they think about careers support in schools/academies across England. 

The research commissioned by ‘Launch Your Career’ involved:

  • 3,615 pre-GCSE pupils from 52 schools/academies in 7 regions across England who responded to a national survey. This was distributed through schools and LinkedIn contacts, both online and in hard copy, including as part of 13 Summer School experiences.
  • 12 head teachers and careers leaders shared their views on England’s careers support system.
  • 39 employers from 14 key sectors in all regions, including nationwide employers, shared their views on young people’s ‘work-readiness’. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data and employer quotes from national skills shortages and skills gaps were also analysed.


Main Findings

Young people want career guidance but are struggling to find it.

Those young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who need most support, are struggling to get access to professional career guidance.

Early intervention in primary and career guidance in secondary schooling is essential from Year 7 onwards to prevent unconscious bias and gender stereotyping which can be hard to change later on.

Technology can play more of a role in modern dimensions of career guidance, complementing the work of careers and enterprise specialists.