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More insight than ever on the Careers System – on student outcomes and alignment with the needs of the labour market

30 Apr 2024

Last month, coinciding with National Careers Week, we published Now & next, our annual deep dive into Careers Education in England. The report drew on the biggest data set to date on the careers system, which triangulated between education, employer and student data. 

This month, we’re excited to publish some of the detailed thinking behind the insights in that report in the form of technical notes, showing the methodology and statistical approaches we used. While much of the detail will be of most interest to technical audiences, it is also a chance for us to reflect on the depth of insight we now have across the system. 

In Looking deeper at destinations, we continue to observe a relationship between good career guidance (as measured by achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks) and positive destinations for young people. In 2021, we published our first report on this relationship, and re-ran the analysis in 2023. This year, we compared the same datasets with Department for Education post-18 destinations six months after leaving, and another dataset – the Millennium Cohort Study – which tracks the experiences of young people born around the year 2000. Once again, we observed a positive relationship. This is important not only because it impacts young people’s lives, but also because it produces better outcomes for society, including savings to the public purse by reducing the extent of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). 

Next up, in Careers education and career readiness, we publish our analysis of the link between good careers provision and student career readiness (as measured by the Future Skills Questionnaire). Not only do additional benchmarks achieved relate to improved student reported career readiness (positive responses to questions about their careers knowledge, skills and confidence) but achieving all 8 benchmarks more than overwhelms the starting “disadvantage gap” between students in receipt of Free School Meals and their peers. This is the second year we have reported on this pattern, once again giving confidence in the conclusions. 

Finally, in Right students, right jobs, we compare student data from the Future Skills Questionnaire with job projections, showing how the industry interests of career-ready students are less gender-stereotyped and better aligned to the economy. This exciting new analysis shows how career readiness (which we know is improved by good careers provision) relates to students making more informed choices, which are better aligned with the needs of the labour market. Choices are also less gender-biased: career ready girls are twice as likely to choose engineering (as their “non-career ready” female peers). This again gives confidence in the value of careers education in meeting skills gaps and the wider needs of business and the economy. 

Of course, while these data analyses tell a powerful story, they do not fully capture the individual experience of any one student. However, we are confident that the data at scale we are capturing from the careers system is driving targeting and continuous improvement, meeting the needs of students, society and the economy with increasing precision.

Blog by Laura Hawksworth, Head of Policy & Impact at CEC

Read the full findings

Careers Education 2022/23: Now & next sets out the clearest picture of the careers education system to date, showing the growing evidence of progress in England.

Read the report