X-Factor dream is over: kids want a proper job

Survey shows kids don’t want to be celebrities any more

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The days when kids thought a reality show was the ticket to fame and fortune are over. It's great news for anyone who thought the rise of Big Brother and the X-Factor were a clear indication that the country was going to hell in a hand basket. Nowadays kids overwhelmingly want proper jobs.

The study, by workwearexpress.com, found that the number one dream job was to be a pilot - named by one in five children. Other jobs requiring serious qualifications in the top ten included doctor, nurse, teacher, and engineer.

When asked why they wanted these jobs, the most common answer was because they thought they would enjoy it, but the second most popular reply was that they wanted to help people. When asked how many hours a week they wanted to work, the average answer was 29 hours - interestingly none of them said they'd rather not work at all.


This is a massive turnaround for childhood ambitions. The researchers discovered that throughout the 1990s, 1980s and 1970s, performing took the top spot in the list of dream jobs - and between 1930 and 1990 the number who wanted to be a celebrity quadrupled. The resurgence of flying as an ambition takes us back to the golden age of flight in the 1950s.

Naturally, children are still dreaming big, and one in five still want to be sports stars - a reflection of the fact that roughly half of the children in any primary school playground are dreaming of a future as a Premiership footballer. Meanwhile 11% of children say they want to be a performer.

The top 10
1. Pilot – 20%
2. Sports star – 20%
3. Doctor/Nurse – 13%
4. Performer – 11%
5. Designer – 11%
6. Teacher – 9%
7. Engineer – 9%
8. I don't know/don't want a job – 8%
9. Beauty Industry – 7%
10. Animal care/Astronaut/Creative – 6%

The great news for these children is that there's every chance that some of these dreams could become reality, as 16% of adults said they are now doing their dream job. When asked what was holding the others back, 27% of them said they didn't get good enough qualifications.

The only piece of bad news is that their dreams regarding salary may be a bit ambitious. When asked how much they wanted to earn each year, the average answer was just shy of £320,000.

What has happened?

These dreams are in stark contrast to surveys done as little as 12 months ago that showed that the top priority when considering a career was to be rich - followed by being a celebrity. Each of these ambitions was named by one in five children at the time. There is, therefore, a chance that this survey is a blip, and that children are every bit as shallow as their parents were at the same age.

However, there is also a chance that we are seeing a shift in children's attitudes towards 'celebrities'. The generation that has grown up with YouTube knows that literally anyone can be a 'celebrity'. And for every fresh-faced youth vlogging about their passions to an audience of millions - and making a living from it - there are hundreds of thousands of others doing something similar to a far smaller audience, and making next to nothing. There are infinitely more celebrities than there used to be, and remarkably few of them are making any money out of it, so being a celebrity is no sure-fire short cut to making a fortune.

You only have to look at the most recent winner of Big Brother, Chloe Wilburn, who took the cash and went straight back to work - on the grounds that she had no interest in being a desperate hanger-on, and she had a living to get on with making.

But what do you think? Have we moved on from the age of celebrity? Or is this survey just a blip? Let us know in the comments.

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