The Engineering Brand Monitor 2021, parents and students report report, published April 2022, aims to understand perceptions and understanding around engineering, as well as aspirations and intentions to pursue engineering as a career, and how parents and teachers can influence these aspirations.
Parents have an important influence on their children, both directly through advice around education and career pathways, and indirectly through the transmission of interests, preferences and values.
For the first time, parents were asked to answer questions about their perceptions of engineering, professional backgrounds, and how much they engage in careers activities with their child, before handing the survey over to their child to complete. This means that responses from parents and young people to the EBM can be linked and the association between responses from each examined.
In this report we look at the link between parents’ job type and young people’s perceptions of, and aspirations towards, engineering, as they are likely at least partly to be driven by the increased knowledge these parents would have about STEM and engineering careers. It shows there is a clear link between parental knowledge of engineering and their children’s interest in the profession.
Knowledge about engineering careers and engagement with STEM activities was relatively low among parents, yet the appeal of an engineering career for their child was high. While just over half of parents agreed that they know about the different types of things engineers could do in their jobs (56%), there were significant differences in responses of parents working in STEM compared to those not working in STEM.
36% of parents said that they and their child regularly do STEM activities together and just 39% of parents say they are confident giving their child advice about careers in engineering. This highlights a large inequality in the knowledge and engagement of parents concerning STEM activities. While some young people can rely on their parents to provide accurate information about engineering careers, and pathways to access these careers, others will be more reliant on teachers, school activities and outreach to help foster their aspirations.
Nearly 9 in 10 young people whose parents said they were confident giving their child advice about careers in engineering said they were interested in a career in engineering, compared to 29% whose parents were not confident, revealing how important it is that information and advice about careers is extended to parents as well as young people.