HomeNewsChildren’s Dream Jobs Are Changing - And It’s Making Them Value University Less
Children’s Dream Jobs Are Changing - And It’s Making Them Value University Less

Children’s Dream Jobs Are Changing - And It’s Making Them Value University Less

Last updated 10th Oct 2022
  • Children between 7-11 today want to be YouTubers, Influencers and Gamers.
  • Aspiring Gamers and Youtubers were twice as likely to expect not to attend university.
  • The majority of previous generation’s dream jobs required a university degree.

Every child dreams about doing exciting things when they grow up. But as the world changes, so do the kinds of fantasies kids have about their future employment.

Recent research analysed by Moneyzine.com has revealed a striking trend in young people’s dream careers. With the rise of digital technology, more and more kids believe their future careers will reflect what they see on their screens - and that casts doubt on the perceived value of a traditional university education.

How dreams jobs have changed

Research from this year shows that the ‘dream jobs’ of 7-11 year olds include several roles that simply did not exist a generation ago.

The most common jobs children today aspire to are:

  1. Sports person

  2. Teacher

  3. YouTuber or influencer

  4. Artist

  5. Vet

  6. Gamer

These findings corroborate earlier research that showed that the 2nd and 3rd most common professional aspirations amongst Gen Z were to be Social Media Influencers (17%) and YouTubers (14%).

This is in stark contrast to studies on the ambitions of the previous generation. Adults today say their dream jobs were:

  1. Teacher

  2. Vet

  3. Doctor

  4. Athlete

  5. Nurse

  6. Scientist

Is a university education less valuable today?

Comparing these two lists, we may suspect higher education is becoming less relevant to children's career aspirations. While all but one of the previous generation’s dream jobs required a university degree (athlete), just 2 of the current crop’s dream roles require further education (vet and teacher).

This is borne out by the research. In the study from this year, children were asked if they expected to go to university. Who said yes? Just 33% of those that wanted to be a ‘gamer’, and 17% of those that wanted to be a ‘Youtuber'. Compare this with 72% of children who said they wanted to be ‘health professionals’ and 68% who wanted to be teachers.

Dreams jobs were never realistic

Many will raise concerns that these new aspirations are unrealistic: even the top 3% of most popular YouTube channels earn on average less than a third of the US median household income, and there are only 710 active esports competition players in the UK today.

Yet fewer than 1 in 10 people in the UK claim to have their ‘dream job’; the most prestigious jobs have always been unattainable for the majority of people. What is new here is the shift away from traditional roles that require access to legacy institutions.

The idea that children want to be gamers or Youtubers is not hugely surprising in 2022. But the implications on higher education are striking. However, we shouldn’t underestimate the valuable skills - and entrepreneurial flair - these new fields can nurture. Even if many fall short of their dreams, they may become far more dynamic, innovative members of society as a consequence of having tried.
Luke Eales, CEO of Moneyzine.com
Toby McInnis

Toby McInnis

Toby McInnis is a copywriter based in London. His work has appeared across numerous publications, and his writing covers a range of topics - including occupation and career choices, small businesses, financial technology and innovation.