EduChat: “Young People Are So Entitled”

Kew Gardens Autumn

I’d like to start writing more about working with young people, careers, and skills gaps. Basically about my work. The content I do about my job on Instagram tends to be very well received so many it will do on here as well. If there are any other educators out there I’d love to start connecting to discuss these topics!

The other week I was in a sixth form college, giving talks on Labour Market Information, which is one of the Gatsby Benchmarks for good careers education. Normally, in other schools, I’ll be talking to students about where there are gaps in local skills, on the salaries they can expect in different local fields and what sectors are thriving in and around Cambridge.

However, on this occasion I was speaking just with students who were studying Health and Social Care, so my talk was discussing ALL the MANY skills gaps in this area, with discussions about how politics and Brexit will affect the students’ future careers.

I’d picked a couple of the jobs that the local hospital had said are in particular short demand and printed off the job descriptions for entry-level roles in each of them. At the end of the talk, I invited the students to look over these, to see if they felt this would be something they’d look into. Each was between £17-19k.

At the end of one of the sessions, a girl looked over the jobs and sighed, saying that they didn’t have very good salaries. I said that for someone her age (17), I thought that actually they were quite good – then asked her what kind of salary she was expecting. She said without hesitation that she wanted to earn £30k. Babe, you and me both!

I work with a lot of different companies, helping them attract young people into applying. Something that comes up a lot is that they feel that young people are “entitled” and that they expect amazing things for little work.

I don’t think this is true at all, though I do think that young people have a warped view of what life is like. It is a fact that we (especially British people) don’t talk about money a lot, and I bet people don’t talk about money that much with their kids. How useful would it be if a parent sat their teen down and went through budgeting with them? Say “this is what I earn, and this is what dad/mum earns, this is the mortgage, the bills. How much do we have to spend on food and treats this month?”

Students will often ask the professionals I invite to their schools how much money they earn but even if they are answered properly, would a 15 year old actually know what kind of lifestyle £20k would give someone as opposed to £35k? Talking with your kids about money would greatly help them have more informed expectations from life when they leave home.

As for expecting the world for little work – I think this is a sign of the times. Social media makes everything look perfect, effortless. While adults are busy bragging about how little sleep they get in order to be successful, young people are building a world where they “just” have to do something like create YouTube videos to make a living.

I was speaking with Grandma about dad when he was younger the other week, and she said that when he started out working when he was 16, he frequently turned up to work late, and didn’t try as hard as he should have. But he kept his job. I think people often forget how long it took them to get into the swing of being a responsible person; not everyone gets it at first. I certainly wouldn’t have been a hard worker when I was 18.

Within my work, not only do I want to help young people get to where they want to go, but I want to remove this stigma people are putting on young people. They’re not all glued to their phones and unwilling to work.

I hope to find other people to discuss these points with! Otherwise I’ll be shouting into the void. Please do comment below and let me know how you think we can help young people have better expectations for the Real World!


  1. My parents taught me early about budgeting, and that money is not unlimited. Basically, the concept that spending money on a means you have less money for b. i am ever so grateful.
    working in hr in the us, i have to say i saw the entitlement. parents called me on a semi-regular basis to discuss (or attempt to, as i refused on the grounds of confidentiality) their child’s performance review, salary, etc.

  2. When I was in primary school, there were units on currency and on what things cost- that topic was revisited in Home Economics class and a few other places. It’s important to give young people real-world examples of what things cost. It’s easy to think that you can make it on $SALARY, but until you start to live month to month, it’s easy to overlook all the tiny things that can eat away at the money you think you have.
    Steven recently posted…Damn it, Idris!My Profile

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