Finding a job the biggest concern for UK youth

| August 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

Finding a job is the biggest concern of young people, according to research released by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).

The survey asked 16-18 year olds across the UK about their thoughts on their future. Results showed the majority (37%) were most worried about finding work, followed by having enough money (25%), finding their life partner (13%) and being in debt (12%).

Respondents believed university was the best pathway to a job with 79% claiming they planned to go to university. Yet, 61% of those surveyed didn’t know tuition fees could cost up to £27,000.

The results are indicative of the social and economic problems currently plaguing generation Y including a challenging job market and rising tuition fees.

According to recent statistics released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), over a third of graduates from the 2010/2011 cohort are unemployed or underemployed, working in roles for which a degree is not necessary. Furthermore, nearly 15% of graduates have taken up part-time, voluntary or unpaid work.

In response to these findings, AAT is urging school leavers to consider vocational education and apprenticeships as a way to secure employment, gain experience and a qualification.

AAT Chief Executive Jane Scott Paul (pictured) said: “With the average student debt rising to £45,000 and a degree no longer a guaranteed pathway into finding a job; university is not the attractive option it once was. The reality is graduates are ending up in menial and low skilled jobs for which a degree is just not necessary.

“We need to ask ourselves if we are channelling our young people in the right direction when there are alternatives available. Apprenticeships are proving to be a viable option for young people looking to secure long term employment and improve their future career prospects. In the case of accountancy, following this route into the profession means a school leaver can become chartered much quicker than a university graduate – at little or very often no cost to themselves.

“Young people must be informed of these choices so they become aware that university is not the only way to establish a career.”


Helen Wright, Audit Supervisor, age 21

Baker Tilly – Birmingham

“Studying AAT meant that I could gain on the job experience and a qualification. I knew that accountancy was the career that I wanted to follow and after weighing up the options I decided that I wanted to move directly into employment after school. I had applied to go to university prior to gaining employment but declined the offers I received because of the cost savings and practical experience associated with taking the vocational route.

“If I had attended university I would still be there now but instead, I have gained three years of enjoyable and rewarding work experience.  I am on my way to becoming a chartered accountant and will be qualified sooner than had I gone to university.

“The qualification has helped give me knowledge and confidence and I was recently given a promotion to audit supervisor.”


Aaron Keeble, Trainee Business Advisor, age 21

PKF – London

“I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Essex after finishing school, but after 15 months I realised it wasn’t for me.

“I knew I wanted a career in accountancy and soon discovered AAT was the best route. It enabled me to get a job which meant I could earn while I learn and it also provided me with a much faster route to becoming a chartered accountant. As an added bonus, I didn’t have any debt obtained through university fees.

“I have been working at PKF whilst studying for the past 10 months. I recently bought a house in Sudbury (Suffolk) with my girlfriend, which at 19 and 20 years of age is quite an achievement.

“I make an effort to go back to my sixth form college and other local schools to talk to accountancy students about the career path I have chosen. It’s important that students realise all the options. My decision to study with AAT has set me up for life.”

The AAT is the UK’s professional body for accounting and finance staff and offers an alternative route to an accountancy qualification to university. To find out more, visit

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