Admin & accounting ‘old fashioned’ & ‘boring’, say 16-24 year olds looking for jobs

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As GCSE and A-Level results come out and thousands of young people make decisions on their futures, Pitman Training, the UK’s leading independent training provider, releases statistics that get under the skin of the psyche of young people and their attitude toward their careers.

Research by Pitman Training reveals that young people are against more ‘traditional’ jobs such as admin or accounts, which could be a door opener to their dream career. Nearly three in five (58%) young Brits (aged 16-24) are in agreement with the stereotype that working in admin or accounts is ‘boring’ and ‘old fashioned’ and Pitman worries that alongside potentially seeing these industries suffer from next generation drought, this attitude means school leavers could miss opportunities to enter their desired industries.

With 84% of 16-24 year olds revealing that they don’t know how to turn the interests they’re passionate about into a career, and 49% of these respondents considering that their lack of qualifications halts them exploring aspirational career opportunities, the next generation of employees are at risk of career dissatisfaction after entering the job market, according to Pitman Training and Censuswide’s research.

The top interests respondents are passionate about include music, fashion and technology, yet they believed they wouldn’t be able to pursue a career in these sectors.

Pitman Training MD Claire Lister believes the admin industry and career paths of training to be a PA, as well as training to be an accountant or web designer can help marry young people’s passions with a career in an industry they’ll love. She said: “We cannot sit back and watch this huge proportion of young people entering into jobs they don’t really buy into, because they’ve given up hope on doing what they actually love. So there’s a love of music; why not work to become a PA within a record label or a web designer specialising in sites for musicians? So they might not be on stage themselves, but get to live the buzz of it all, right? You’d love to work in fashion but are no designer – an EA to a CEO of a leading retail brand brings with it an immersion into the fashion world, and opportunities to have a starring role, right? Many of our training courses can open doors to help people work in the industries they really want, if they are focused on progression. PA, web design and accountancy courses in particular can open up a huge variety of doors into interesting careers”.

In response to the research findings, a new online resource launches next week as part of Pitman Training’s ‘U Know’ campaign aimed at school leavers, which sets out to provide confidence and insight to young people to help them find their true career destiny.

Bringing together industry experts and young people’s stories at, the site provides a free online tool and resource to help discover how personality and passions can be channelled into careers, along with a whole host of free advice and guidance. It also sees ex-Pitman students Nicola Penny, who works as Assistant to Editors at This Morning and Loose Women at ITV, and Maria Divilekova, Group Assistant, Research and Learning UK, BBC, alongside Katie McEwan FEPAA – Executive Support Manager to Jacqueline Gold CBE at Ann Summers, share insights into their job roles in a bid to challenge the stereotype that working in admin is ‘old fashioned’ and ‘boring’.

Claire added: “The idea behind the new online resource is that deep down we all know what we are good at and would love to do something with our talent – the problem is that the majority of us don’t believe in ourselves, don’t listen to our instincts and don’t know where to start, so our dreams remain dreams. Whether this relates to wanting to work in a global organisation, be a successful internet sensation or become the director of a business, creating career progression requires a strategic approach. If at school age young people fall into jobs, or further training that is a ‘filler’ rather than a vocation, they really risk not achieving their true potential. We are passionate about trying to help people tap into their true calling and provide practical steps that can see people achieve aspirational work lives.”

Do PAs themselves believe stereotypes still exist in their industry in 2016?
Nicola Penny, Assistant to Editors at This Morning and at Loose Women at ITV, and a Pitman student said: “PAs are well respected, especially by their bosses; if you work hard and know your stuff you become indispensable to them! “

Katie McEwan FEPAA – Executive Support Manager to Jacqueline Gold CBE at Ann Summers said: “Certainly within our business, I am seen as a leader and a manager; someone that enables Jacqueline to be as successful as she can be and a conduit between her and her teams. Is that true everywhere? Probably not, but I think it is improving.”

Executive Secretary’s Matthew Want, PA to Lucy Brazier, CEO of Marcham Publishing said: “I still feel that it is perceived by many as just answering the phone and filing papers; however, the role of the PA is now more complex and diverse than it has ever been. With regards to being a male PA I think it is just as easy for a male PA to become as successful as a female PA is. The role of the PA shouldn’t be cast by gender. Both men and women are more than capable of learning the skills that the role entails. I know several well renowned male PAs from all over the world, all of whom do not see the fact that being a male makes them or the role any different.”

Maria Divilekova, Group Assistant, Research and Learning UK, BBC and a Pitman student said: “Most businesses will see their PAs as an absolute asset to the company and if you work hard you will be equally rewarded.  Many companies now offer progression for staff who started out as PAs as they tend to know the inside outs of the business, so it is an industry full of opportunities for career progression.”