What school leavers want in a marketing career

With four in 10 school-leavers interested in a career in marketing, there is a significant opportunity to grow and develop the future of the profession
Chris Daly

AS many leading Irish universities prepare to open their doors to a new cohort of students, new research by CIM has shed light on what the next generation of marketers are looking for from their future employers.

A survey of 500 young people from across the UK and Ireland aged 17-19, who have left school or college in the past six months, found that four in 10 (41 per cent) are interested in a career in marketing. Around a quarter (28 per cent) felt the best way to embark on that career was by going to university, a fifth (21 per cent) said a trainee marketing job, and 14 per cent thought the best route was through a marketing qualification.

The research also found that of those going to university, 38 per cent said they would consider a job in marketing, compared to 44 per cent of those not going to university.

The new findings also suggest that the next generation of young people are prioritising job security in established firms over entrepreneurial ventures.

Rather than cutting-edge start-ups, or businesses focusing on delivering social good, respondents reported that their preferred employers are likely to be large, successful companies – job security and good pay are their top priorities.

The survey of future marketers found:

• Established firms vs innovative start-ups: 64 per cent would choose to work in a multi-national (36 per cent) or established British firm (28 per cent). Only a small proportion would prefer to work in an innovative start-up (11 per cent), a small business (12 per cent), or a charity or social enterprise (6 per cent).

• High salary over social value: A high salary (44 per cent) was viewed as more important than a career that helps people (33 per cent).

• Successful business vs cutting edge: 60 per cent said it was very or extremely important to work in a business that is successful, compared to 35 per cent who said that it was important to work in a business at the ‘cutting edge' of its industry, and the 28 per cent who wanted to work for a prestigious brand.

Worryingly, the research also revealed that these next-gen marketers have a gloomy outlook about today's job market.

Just half of school leavers (53 per cent) feel optimistic about landing a job that they really want, while others believe difficulty achieving the right qualifications (34 per cent), and difficulty developing the right skills (27 per cent) will prevent them from finding their dream job. A third (29 per cent) of school leavers feel pessimistic about their career prospects.

This research sends an important message to businesses and marketing departments looking to attract the next generation of talent. With four in 10 school leavers interested in a career in marketing, there is a significant opportunity for us all to grow and develop the future of the profession.

Show the next generation of marketers why your organisation is worth working for by entering the CIM Ireland Marketing Awards. Hosted at Titanic Belfast, the awards celebrate the insight, creativity and impact of marketers across the island. Entries must be submitted by October 5. Find out more at

:: Chris Daly is chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

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