Brits’ favourite TV shows influence their career choices

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Our best-loved telly characters are shaping our choice of job, says a new report, with millions of Brits admitting they make career decisions based on their favourite TV shows.

According to the Careers on the Box report conducted by Fletchers Solicitors, Brits are shunning career advisors in favour of their TV sets, with almost one in five (18%) admitting they made one of their biggest life decisions – their choice of job – based on TV role models. For millennials (18- 24 year olds) making those all-important future decisions, this soars to an incredible 39% who say TV is influencing their choice of career.

The figures come from a new survey of 1000 UK adults and reveals how viewers are fascinated by watching professionals work on TV dramas and reality shows. Our favourites are shows about police, lawyers and medics, with people twice as likely to watch than programmes about gardeners, journalists, or artists. The study also reveals that over the last 50 years, it is law that is the profession featured the most within top-rated TV shows across the decades.

Of the leading TV role models for lawyers, 1990s American series Law and Order tops the list, closely followed by modern day-time hit Judge Rinder. UK lawyers are more popular than US counterparts, with home grown shows like Judge John Deed and Rumpole of the Bailey just edging out American imports like Ally McBeal and LA Law as the nation’s favourites.

Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors, creators of the report, said that the impact of role models on TV shouldn’t be underestimated. “Professions such as the law, police and healthcare should be enormously grateful to TV shows for helping to inspire and shape their future recruits. Certainly growing up, I was fascinated by those TV lawyers who fought against the odds to secure justice for their clients and I suppose that still affects how I see my job today.

“It 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 10 or 20 years’ time. Maybe we need shows that popularise engineers or mathematicians to help shape future generations.”

Top 10 TV role models
1 Jack McCoy – Law and Order
2 Judge Rinder
3 Judge John Deed
4 Michael Kuzak – LA Law
5 Ally McBeal
6 Rumpole of the Bailey
7 Perry Mason
8 Rachel Zane – Suits (played by Prince Harry’s current girlfriend, Meghan Markle)
9 Kavanagh Q.C.
10 Martha Costello – Silk

Top 10 most common jobs on TV (1970s – 2000s)
1 Lawyer
2 Police/detective
3 Comedian
4 Doctor
5 Journalist
6 Teacher
7 Cook/caterer
8 Scientist
9 Soldier
10 Musician/popstar

An infographic of the Careers on the Box report can be found HERE.

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson