HR · 4 July 2016

Why The Apprentice could be putting people off business careers for good

Alan Sugar 2
Alan Sugar’s ruthless character on The Apprentice makes for good TV, but does the show accurately reflect the world of business?
Television show The Apprentice is tarnishing impressions of British business and putting individuals off a career in the sector, according to a recent study.

Revealing the wider impact of reality TV shows such as Educating Essex or One Born Every Minute on the UK industries they claim to portray, a survey of over 2, 000 British jobseekers from job site CV Library showed that over two-thirds believe the Alan Sugar-led hit show damages the appeal of being a businessperson.

The survey indicated that on the whole, viewers believed that reality shows gave a realistic interpretation of their respective industries, with as many as 70.5 per cent of workers stating that these kind of shows added benefits to the professions they represented.

CV Library founder Lee Biggins said that the growth of profession-based reality television, of which The Apprentice was just one example, was becoming a contributing factor in peoples? career choices.

reality TV series, like Kitchen Nightmares and Traffic Cops, provides a new way to learn more about a particular industry. While this can benefit some organisations in certain industries, it can be harmful to others, as some shows might be scripted or over-dramatised for the cameras, added Biggins.

Ranking how beneficial or damaging certain reality shows have been on their respective professions, workers voted The Great British Bake Off, Pet Rescue and Masterchef as most beneficial, while Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares joined The Apprentice as the most damaging series.

Biggins advised business owners to find ways to alter the negative impressions these shows may portray. Businesses must combat the stigma associated with certain industry-focused TV shows to help candidates see the real profession, not the dramatised version, and ensure their pipeline of skilled talent is not harmed, he added.



Fred Heritage was previously 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.