The entrepreneurial spirit emanating out of the UK technology industry is empowering the next generation of school leavers according to a report out today.
The School Leavers Study, released by Dice® the online career site for the technology industry, spoke to 1,000 16-18 year olds to coincide with academic results season. The study explored their attitudes towards tech careers and showed that the rise of UK tech entrepreneurs is inspiring the next generation of graduates to invest their futures in the sector.
The report found that 71% of young adults believe a career in the technology industry would allow them to drive positive, social change in the world, rather than just maximize their earnings. Similarly, the tech industry was the sector that the most young people say they would be proud to work in (54%) compared to medicine (41%), engineering (31%) and healthcare (26%).
Go Your Own Way
It is clear that many young people are enthused by a career in tech. 62% of school leavers polled said they would consider a career in one of the STEM subjects, which rises to 72% when asked specifically about careers in technology. Whilst young people are excited about the prospect of a future in the sector, many clearly plan to take a non-traditional route into a tech career.
One in three (33%) of those polled didn’t believe a university degree was of critical importance when trying to forge a career in tech, perhaps inspired by the likes of Mark Zuckerburg and Uber’s Travis Kalanick who both dropped out of higher education to become tech entrepreneurs.
This is also reflected in what young people deem as the critical transferable skills they require to be a success in the tech sector. Creativity (45%) is the most prized skill amongst wannabe techies, following by a keen eye for detail (39%) and good analytical skills (38%).
Traditional skills like time management (12%) and prioritization (10%) rank quite low by comparison, perhaps reflecting the new found sense of individual entrepreneurship amongst today’s young people. Indeed, 1 in 7 (13%) said they’d feel comfortable going solo in pursuit of their tech career.
Gaming, Travel and Job Security
For many young people, video games appear to have been their gateway into the tech industry with gaming (37%) the area of the sector where the most young people wish to forge careers.
Similarly, 35% of young people said they did a lot of video gaming growing up, which led them to become naturally interested in technology. 29% of people are interested in the sector as they want to develop the technology of the future that will change people’s lives for the better. Interestingly, following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, 23% believe that the tech sector will offer them greater opportunity to work and live abroad.
As well as a love of tech and the chance to travel, a lot of young people simply see the technology industry as a safe bet in terms of job security. 75% admit being attracted to the size of the sector as it will always offer jobs, with 51% thinking the size of the sector would offer them a good opportunity to develop a specialism. The tech industry’s image also plays a crucial role – 39% of young people think it would be ‘cool’ to say you worked in the tech sector.
Areas of the Sector and Earnings
A lot of young people appear empowered by the possibility of going solo, but it is clear that many high school graduates are also aware of the more traditional roles the sector offers. Indeed, 33% of young people say they’d like to be the technological lead in a large corporate company, with 25% saying they’d like to work in software development for big businesses.
The emergence of apps into the mainstream is also reflected by 32% showing an interest in getting involved in the development process whilst 18% say they would be keen to become a data scientist or analyst.
In spite of many having a passion for technology, it is clear young people expect the sector to reward them well for their enthusiasm. Today’s school leavers expect the average salary for an entry role in the tech sector to reach £21,819 by 2020. One in five (21%) expect to earn more than £25,000 in their first role, with a particularly ambitious 11% setting their sights on a starting salary of more than £27,500. Technology was viewed as the industry offering the highest lifelong earning potential (33%) compared to medicine (8%) and finance (7%).
Jamie Bowler, Marketing Director of Dice Europe comments,
“It is great to see that the success of UK tech professionals on the global stage is having such an inspiring affect on the next generation of school leavers. The UK undoubtedly leads Europe in terms of tech innovation and the opportunities we can afford tech professionals who come here to work. By enthusing the next generation of graduates as this report suggests, the industry collectively safeguards its future as a global pioneer and ensures that our best and brightest are encouraged to fulfill their potential within the technology industry.”