Forget bankers, UK parents want kids to cache in on digital careers

4th September 2014

  • Parents put Technology Entrepreneur and Web/ App Developer in their top five career aspirations for kids
  • Digital careers trump vet and banker for modern parents
  • Virgin Media to support parents and non-techy kids to discover digital opportunities

British parents have named Technology Entrepreneur and Web Developer in the top 5 careers for their kids alongside Doctor, Lawyer and Engineer, according to the latest study from Virgin Media’sSwitched On Futures programme.

Of the 2,000 parents of children under 18 quizzed by Virgin Media, 8% put having a career as a technology entrepreneur in their top 5 career choices for their kids and more than a third (35%) named web developer or app developer as the most promising career.

This comes following widespread concern of a lack of digital skills in UK industry, with the country needing to create 750,000
* digitally skilled workers over the period of 2013 to 2017. With Ofcom*** revealing that people hit their peak understanding of digital technology in their mid-teens, and with statistics showing that more than three out of four (77%) parents feel their kids could achieve more with their technology skills, it’s imperative that parents have the skills they need to support their kid’s digital interests. 

According to the research, three in five parents feel they don’t have the skills they need to best support their kid’s digital interests, which is why it’s crucial that they and their kids learn the skills they need to succeed.

Virgin Media is partnering with CoderDojo, the world’s biggest coding club to help kids and parents unlock their digital creativity through coding clubs and a brand new game building platform where kids can build computer games for their entire family to play in their living rooms.

Mary Moloney, Global CEO of CoderDojo said, “To hear that parents rank tech jobs alongside things like Doctors and Lawyers simply would not have happened more than five years ago. Parents hear about young people like Nick D’Aloisio making millions from apps they’d built in their bedrooms and instantly see amazing potential for their kids’ futures.

“With Virgin Media’s backing, we’ve developed a new online game making program to bring more coding clubs to the UK to help support more kids and parents develop coding skills. Coding gives people skills that will help them innovate, create and problem solve - no matter what industry they go into. With the right skills, anything’s possible. Young coders may even end up making their life’s fortune before they finish school!”

Neil Illingworth, Virgin Media’s Head of Advance Technology and Innovation: “It can be difficult for parents to know how to best support their kids digital ambitions - especially for those who went through school before the days of apps and superfast broadband. Back when I learned coding it took days to build something with an end result, but nowadays kids can create apps or games in minutes.”

Details of Virgin Media’s partnership with CoderDojo can be found here and parents and children can go to to find out how they can make their own video game that can be played with all the family, including full instructions.  

British parent’s top careers for their kids:

1. Doctor (49%)
2. Engineer (45%)
3. Lawyer (43%)
4. Tech Entrepreneur (38%)
5. App developers (35%)
6. Vet (32%)
7. Emergency Services (e.g. policeman, fireman etc.) (21%)
8. Banker (18%)
9. Professional Sportsperson (16%) \ 10. Musician / Artist (16%)

Notes to editors

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2018 parents with children aged 18 years and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th May - 3rd June 2014.  The survey was carried out online.

** Statistics from O2 The Future of Digital Skills Needs of the UK Economy

*** Techie Teens shaping communications

****Top 90s jobs

About Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. And we’re expanding this through our £3bn Project Lightning programme, which will reach 17 million premises.

Our interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones.

We launched the world’s first virtual mobile network, offering fantastic value and services to customers. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.

Through Virgin Media Business we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries.

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