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Two thirds of young people worry about career prospects after exams

Young women are most worried about career prospects, survey shows 

  • More than two thirds (69%) of young people worry they might not find a career
  • Young women are the most anxious: almost three quarters fear they will struggle to secure employment
  • Young men show more confidence, and expect to earn £33,251 before the age of 30
  • The survey shows young people believe their parents’ generation had it easier

As thousands of teens nervously await their exam results, new research from British Gas has highlighted the depth of anxiety among Britain’s youngsters about their career prospects.

More than two thirds (69%) of the 15-22 year olds surveyed are concerned about the possibility of not being able to find a job in the future, while 63% are anxious about ending up in a “dead end” job.*

Research shows that young women worry most about their future, with 73% admitting they fear that they might not be able to find a job, while 61% worry about being on a low salary.

Young women’s salary expectations reflect their worries: those surveyed assumed their earning potential was 10% lower than their male counterparts. The research showed that on average, young women expected to earn £29,880 by the time they are 30, while young men expect to earn £33,251.**

When asked about future career paths, the research for British Gas shows that some sectors of the jobs market continue to be overlooked by many young women. Almost half of those surveyed (48%) admitted they had never considered working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) sectors.

Last year, just 4% of applicants for British Gas’ technical and engineering apprenticeship schemes were women. The company has since put in place a number of measures to attract more women to its apprenticeship scheme, including hosting open days aimed at women, and launching a new mentoring programme.

The research found that women are turning their back on these industries for a number of reasons, including a perception that the industry is sexist (13%), or better suited to the opposite sex (9%).  30% of young women put their reluctance to work in STEM sectors down to their lack of knowledge of the subject area.  8% also say there are not enough role models in these industries.

Claire Miles, Managing Director for HomeCare at British Gas commented: “There are some fantastic opportunities for both women and men in these sectors, so I’m concerned to hear that so many young women are put off by careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“With boys already taking advantage of the apprenticeship opportunities available, I would encourage girls to think about engineering. Apprenticeships are a great way into an organisation, and at British Gas they allow you to earn while you learn and develop skills for life.”

Young people are convinced their parents’ generation had it easier. Almost half (49%) think it is more difficult for them to find a good job than it was for their parents. 41% believe it is harder for their generation to find a job with a good salary, while a third (33%) think it is more difficult to find a job with good prospects.

The results also cast doubt on the quality of career advice youngsters get from their parents. The research revealed parents were almost twice as likely to advise boys to take on an apprenticeship compared to girls. More than a fifth (22%) of parents would encourage their son to take on an apprenticeship, while only 16% of parents would give the same advice to their daughter. 35% of parents said they offered differing career advice to their children, depending on their gender.

For young people considering a career in STEM, more information can be found online at


Notes to editors

Notes to Editors:

  • Case studies available upon request: female British Gas apprentice and young exam-taker
  • British Gas is currently training more than 1,200 apprentices across the UK and receives approximately 50 applications per engineering apprenticeship.
  • British Gas is regarded as a premier provider of apprentices and its academies have an Ofsted judgement of ‘Outstanding’ in this sector.
  • In 2014, British Gas invested £21m in training its engineers and apprentices.


*The survey was conducted among 1,500 parents and 2,000 teens aged 15-22. The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in February 2015 using an email invitation and an online survey.

**The survey was conducted amongst 2,018 teenagers aged 15-22, during June & July 2015. 

For more information contact:

Bieneosa Ebite
British Gas

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at

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