New Survey on Parental Hopes and Careers Uncovers Surprising Results

  • Doctor is the number one preferred profession despite strike action over pay and conditions
  • A career as an athlete ranks lowly despite British Olympic success at Rio Games
  • Over 40% of parents would actively discourage their children from working in hospitality despite tens of thousands of vacancies

As the deadline for clearing approaches (20th September 2016), Best Western Great Britain has published the results of the Best Western Careers Index revealing what aspirations UK parents have for the careers of their children, uncovering some surprising results. 

The independent survey of over 1,000 parents revealed that despite recent strike action, medicine is the top preferred career, followed by accountancy and being an architect. Sales professionals, farmers and hospitality professionals are the least preferred careers for offspring.

Perhaps surprisingly given the success of the British Olympic team at Rio, parents did not want their children to be professional athletes, ranking it in the 10 least preferred careers, although more mums (18%) were favourable to their children pursuing a sporting career than dads (12%).

Worrying for hospitality though was the low confidence parents have in the industry.

More than a third of parents (42%) say they’d discourage their child from a career in hospitality, despite there being an estimated 90,000* jobs available.  52% of parents say that’s because of long hours and 60% say it's because of poor pay.

Best Western Great Britain also surveyed its hotels on the topic and 60% of hotels said the most difficult job position to recruit for was chefs - this is despite the huge popularity of baking and cooking television programmes.

September is a defining point for the careers of many. As young people across the country are getting ready to start university, others are still trying to get a place through the clearing process and could be considering alternative career options including direct entry into the workplace.

Best Western Great Britain’s CEO, Rob Payne, representing the group’s 260+ independently owned and managed hotels, said the research showed how much work the hospitality industry still has to do.

“We have enjoyed incredible broadcast exposure for our industry over the last 20 years, probably more media profile than any other industry and yet despite, that we are struggling to fill positions and persuade parents and young people that hospitality is a first choice career and not just a summer job.

“It offers great, diverse and rewarding careers offering fast promotion opportunities based on hard work, not grades, providing school leavers and graduates with a career for life and yet we are clearly suffering a lack of confidence in our industry and its prospects.”  

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 – 47%
  2. Accountants – 39%
  3. Architects – 37%
  4. Engineers – 36%
  5. Dentists 34%
  6. IT specialists – 33%
  7. Law professionals – 30%
  8. Finance professionals – 27%
  9. Scientists – 26%
  10. Vets – 25%

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

  1. Sales professionals – 10%
  2. Farmers – 11%
  3. Hospitality professionals – 12%
  4. Drivers and chauffeurs – 13%
  5. Hairdressers and beauty professionals – 14%
  6. Cleaners – 14%
  7. Journalists – 15%
  8. Public services professionals – 15%
  9. Professional athletes – 15%
  10. Hospitality management including General Manager, Directors etc. – 15%


For more information please contact Sophie Kelk or Laoise Collins at or call 020 7326 9880.

*According to Hotel Industry, there are 45,000 independent hotels in the UK. A survey of Best Western Great Britain member hotels indicated an average of two vacancies per hotel at any one time.

**1,004 parents ranging from 18 to 65 were surveyed in July and August 2016 across the United Kingdom by TFL Research.

Editors’ notes:

Best Western GB represents the largest collection of independently owned and family run hotels in Great Britain, with over 260 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.

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