Children lose interest in careers in technology as they reach their late teenage years, according to a survey from Nominet and Parent Zone.
The study found that 77% of children aged 11 to 12 are more likely to be inspired by a career in IT, as opposed to 63% of 17 to 18 year olds.
Children aged 11 to 18 were found to be most interested in development careers, with almost a quarter stating they wanted to be a games developer. 13% said they wanted a career in apps development and 12.6% said they aspired to be a web developer.
Only a quarter of girls claimed they wanted to work in an IT department, compared to 43% of boys. However, 12.3% of girls said they would like a career in games development and 11.5% said they wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone, said children, particularly young women, can be put off of careers in technology if their parents advise them otherwise: “It’s easy for parents to slip into the trap of being negative about technology, but it’s important they try to see it through their children’s eyes and remember that technology is likely to feature in their careers when they leave school.
“There are lots of resources available to parents when it comes to cultivating their children’s interests in IT, so they should know that help is available if they need it.”
The majority of girls aged between 11 and 18 said they wanted a career in fashion design (13%). The top career for boys in this age group was games development (36.5%).
Shotbolt added: “Young women are strongly influenced by their school years, what they learn and the role models they look up to. These influences can clearly make a difference to the choices they make later in life, so it’s paramount we do all we can now to ensure the success of our future IT workforce.”
Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, said a collaborated effort between the IT industry and the education sector could help to ensure more young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a technology career.
Haworth said: “We’re putting the future of our digital economy at risk if we recruit from only half of the talent pool and fail to encourage more girls into IT. It appears that sustained collaboration between schools and the IT industry is what’s required to ignite girls’ interest and to develop their skills.”