HR · 16 February 2017

Younger workers making career choices emulate TV characters

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Millennials are most likely to let a TV character influence their job choice

Millions of British younger workers make important career choices based on the television characters they love and admire, a new survey has shown.

As many as one in five people admitted to making one of the biggest decisions in life, their chosen career, based on a TV role model, a study from Fletchers, a law firm, has confirmed.

Millennials are by far the biggest demographic being influenced by television, with 39 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds surveyed saying they’d let a TV character influence their job choice.

The results of the survey outlined which types of television character younger workers were most interested in emulating.

Shows featuring police, lawyers or doctor and nurse characters were watched more intently than television programmes about artists, journalists or gardeners, for instance.

In terms of the most watched profession on television, law tops the list, with many more highly-rated shows about lawyers featuring regularly in people’s “top ten” lists than other professions.

Characters in the landmark 90’s American police drama Law and Order have been most emulated, while the more recent popular UK day-time TV show Judge Rinder follows in second, the research found.

The survey also showed characters from UK law-based shows like Judge John Deed and Rumpole of the Bailey are watched and admired more by a British audience than classic US dramas like Ally McBeal or LA Law.

Commenting on the results of the survey, the CEO at Fletchers Solicitors, Ed Fletcher, said that it clarified how important television really was for shaping the important choices people make.

“[The survey] also suggests that maybe TV companies could have a role in helping inspire people into professions where there is going to be most need in ten or twenty years’ time,” added Fletcher.

“Professions such as the law, police and healthcare should be enormously grateful to TV shows for helping to inspire and shape their future recruits, and maybe we need shows that make popular engineers or mathematicians to help shape future generations.”

The top ten most emulated jobs on television by younger workers in the last 30 years, according to the research, are:

  • Lawyer
  • Police/detective
  • Comedian
  • Doctor
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Cook/ caterer
  • Scientist
  • Soldier
  • Musician

Financial insecurity is a distraction for the majority of young employees

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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