Parental influence on children's academic and employment choices

This research explored the role of parents as key influencers and advisers when it comes to helping their children make important educational and career decisions.

The report findings are based on surveys of parents of children, aged 16 and above, and undergraduates of all academic disciplines. Smaller surveys of employers, careers and employability advisers working in higher education and university outreach, marketing and admissions staff were also carried out.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Parents do influence their children and children expect their parents to influence them.
  • Parents exert most influence on their children's choice of university and degree, least on choice of employer.
  • Students are strongly advised to go to university.
  • Alternatives to university are not often discussed.
  • Parents find information about alternatives to university mainly from their children's school/college.
  • Parents don’t know where to find online information to help them advise their children.
  • Parents are practically involved in helping their children.
  • Among the family group, mothers are more active influencers than fathers.
  • Influence is not a constant, it changes depending on many factors.