June 1st is the International Children’s Day (one of several, in fact) and we decided to take a different approach this year. Let’s look at the kids’ future.
A new study by Nominet found that most parents still want their kids to be doctors, laywers or other classic professions. Only 9% of parents say they would love it if their kid becomes a tech pro or a tech entrepreneur.
Another predictable results – parents of boys are more likely to steer them towards a career in technology. In fact, roles as tech entrepreneur, web developer or computer games developer don’t even make their way among the top roles parents of girls mention.
Some type of engineer is the most wanted profession by parents for their boys. A quarter of parents of girls say they want their child to become a doctor. Only 6% want their daughters to be involved in tech.
The results show that it’s not enough to make tech hubs for kids and motivate more girls to explore a career in tech. That’s not going to help motivate more people to get into the industry which will in turn further slow down the closing of the digital skills gap.
Parents need some encouragement, too
Actually, before kids are motivated to get into tech, the effort should be focused on their parents first. “Parents are one of the greatest influences on their children’s future decisions, much more than they perhaps give themselves credit for, and I encourage everyone to help all young people – and especially girls – to consider the possibilities the tech industry has to offer,” said Eleanor Bradley, COO of Nominet to ComputerWeekly.
The good news are that parents are open to the idea. 45% of them say computing studies will give kids better skills to use after school. Sadly, only 19% think coding skills specifically are important to the future career of their child. Most parents still put more value in soft skills like conversations, literacy and etc.
There’s still a gender split, too. 22% of parents say coding skills are important for boys, and only 16% say the same for girls. The survey found that dads are more likely to encourage their children to acquire tech skills or tech-based after-schools activities, but only 11% of them and 4% of mums. In general, parents still prefer to send their kids to traditional activities like music, dancing or sports.
Another tidbit – 73% of parents of boys say they give complete freedom to their kids to roam the internet with no supervision. 65% of girls get the same treatment and their parents are slightly more protective.
What is clear in the survey is that parents should also be encouraged by the tech industry to give it a chance. It’s the same challenge as ever for the tech industry – to overcome the traditional expectations and show the world of opportunities that are possible in and with technology. Of course, this doesn’t mean that other activities are bad or should be forgotten. But it means that technology should be in the same conversation as them and not be neglected.