New research published by CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global technology industry, finds that teenagers in the United Kingdom believe that technology is generally moving in a positive direction and is a force for good that will play an even greater role in their lives as they grow older.
The CompTIA report “International Youth Perspectives of Technology and Careers” reveals that 49 percent of the UK teenagers surveyed would consider a career in technology, compared to 50 percent globally. UK teens are generally positive about what a job in tech entails – solving problems, doing work that’s interesting and fun and earning a good salary.
But the survey also finds that barriers are still in place that may be keeping even more young people from looking at the technology field as a profession. More than 1,500 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 from 11 different countries* participated in the online survey.
“It’s encouraging to see that a sizeable percentage of young people see tech as a viable career option,” said Graham Hunter, CompTIA’s vice president for skills certification in Europe and the Middle East.
“But it’s also quite apparent that we still have work to do to correct misperceptions about tech occupations and to provide career instruction and resources that reflect the reality of the 21st Century tech workforce.”
For example, the data shows that 40 percent of UK teenagers feel there are few available technology job opportunities in their local areas. Also, 35 percent cite a lack of affordable schooling and training options, while 31 percent believe the technology field is too competitive and too difficult to enter.
The report also confirms that gender bias is still present when it comes to career advice. Boys in the UK receive higher levels of encouragement from parents, teachers, peers and other to consider a career in tech than girls. (56 percent vs. 44 percent)
When teens were asked about specific career opportunities in tech, the most popular choices are designing video games, designing apps for smartphones and working in emerging technologies, such as robotics.
“These are all great career choices, but there are many more job roles in tech that provide the opportunity to earn a good salary, take on new and greater responsibilities and, most importantly, have a positive impact on society,” Hunter said.
“We need to expand our outreach to get that message out to the next generations of workers.”
Interacting with Technology
Among UK teenagers, 57 percent generally believe that technology is moving in a positive direction compared to 15 percent who feel that tech is heading in a negative direction and 29 percent who are unsure. The corresponding global figures are 54 percent positive, 11 percent negative and 35 percent unsure.
Factors contributing to the positive feelings include the expectation that technology will continue to get faster, better and more feature rich. Teens also view innovation and technology breakthroughs as a way to further improve lives and will provide more choices offering something to meet the needs of almost every user.
Seven in 10 young people in the UK report seeing or hearing something about automating technologies and the future of work. They also expressed a degree of concern over the uncertainty of automation.
“Teens astutely anticipate the need for more training and hands-on experience in various technology disciplines to ensure that they are well positioned for the workplace of tomorrow,” said Anna Matthai, senior manager, research and market intelligence, CompTIA.
* Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.