Doctors still number one in
career aspirations survey

  • Doctor is the number one preferred profession for the second year in a row
  • Farmers, drivers and sales professionals perceived as least desirable career choices
  • Marketing professionals, mechanics and plumbers feature in the top 10 least preferred career choices for first time
  • One third of parents would actively discourage their children from working in hospitality

As GCSE results day approaches (24th August 2017), Best Western Great Britain has published the results of the Best Western Careers Index for the second year in a row, revealing what aspirations UK parents have for the careers of their children and uncovering some surprising results. 

The independent survey of more than 1,000 parents revealed that medicine is the top preferred career for the second year in a row, with 48% of parents indicating they would be happy to see their child become a doctor.  

The next most desirable career was accountancy, with 38% of those surveyed viewing it as a promising career choice. Architects, IT specialists, engineers and law professionals also scored highly. Environment & conservation professionals and film producers & directors entered the top 10 for the first time. 

Becoming a sales professional was viewed as the least desirable career option. Drivers, farmers and cleaners also gathered minimal support. New entrants in the bottom tier of the list were marketing professionals, mechanics and plumbers – these replaced professional athletes and hair dressers & beauty professionals, which attracted lower scores last year.  

Career choices that have gained in respect over the last year include care workers and home carers (6% more desirable than last year) and environment and conservation professionals, which saw a 5% shift.  

Worrying for hospitality though was the low confidence parents have in the industry. Although hospitality made marginal gains on its position last year, it is still not a high scorer, with just 17% of parents viewing a career based in a hotel or a restaurant in a positive light. However, that percentage rose by 4%, when asked about management roles in hospitality.

About one-third of parents (31%) said they’d discourage their child from a career in hospitality. Poor pay was the most popular reason, with 61% citing low wages as a factor while 52% of parents highlighted long hours as another disincentive. 

August is a defining point for the careers of many. As young people across the country are getting ready to start college or university, others could be considering alternative career options including direct entry into the workplace.

Best Western Great Britain’s Managing Director, Les Asplen, said the research still showed how much work the hospitality industry needs to do.

“Despite the popularity of TV shows focused on the hospitality sector, such as Amazing Hotels, Life Beyond the Lobby, and Great British Menu, as an industry we are still struggling to fill positions and for the second year running our survey shows parents still don’t see hospitality is a first-choice career.  

“I know myself from working my way up in hotels to the position I am now as Managing Director of Best Western Great Britain that hospitality offers great, diverse and rewarding careers. Opportunities to climb the career ladder are based on hard work and aptitude, not grades, and more school leavers should be considering us as first choice career, not just a summer job.” 

Best Western Great Britain is committed to working closely with its members and industry bodies to find a solution to promoting a positive future for hospitality.  

Full Results**  

Top 10 preferred careers by parents - Source: Best Western Careers Index 

  1. Doctors – 48%
  2. Accountants – 41%
  3. Architects – 38%
  4. IT specialists – 35%
  5. Engineers – 33%
  6. Law professionals – 31%
  7. Scientists – 29%
  8. Dentists 28%
  9. Environment and conservation professionals – 26%
  10. Film producers & directors – 25%

Bottom 10 careers according to parents - Source:Best Western Careers Index

  1. Sales professionals – 9%
  2. Drivers and chauffeurs – 10%
  3. Farmers – 11%
  4. Cleaners – 11%
  5. Marketing professionals – 13%
  6. Mechanics – 15%
  7. Plumbers – 15%
  8. Public services professionals – 15%
  9. Journalists – 15%
  10. Brokers – 16% 


For more information please contact [email protected] or call 020 7326 9880. 

Editors’ notes:

 *1,035 parents ranging from 18 to 65+ were surveyed in July 2017 across the United Kingdom by TLF Research

** Best Western GB represents the largest collection of independently owned and family run hotels in Great Britain, with more than 250 properties across the country. From beach front properties and mountain views, to city escapes, rural retreats and both modern and listed buildings, each hotel is different. What brings them together is their commitment to the quality, value and standards of service that every guest receives.

Best Western GB is a retained-profit membership organisation that helps hotels maintain their independence. Committed to representing the views of its independently owned member hotels, Best Western GB tackles key industry issues on their behalf, including the effects of Government policies and legislation, industry changes and environmental impact on the heartbeat of the Great British hospitality industry.