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International Workers Day 2021: Parents’ Around the World Reveal How They Feel About Different Jobs

In celebration of International Workers Day 2021 we have analysed the findings of a new global study which reveals how parents perceive different professions.  With so many of our customers choosing to send money online and send regular payments to friends and family, we want to commemorate our diverse and hard-working customer base by learning more about how international audiences view certain jobs. In this report we will take a closer look at what parents around the world think about their children’s career choices.

Updated: 29/06/2021
Read time: 8 minutes

About International Workers Day

Every year on May 1st global communities observe International Workers Day. This annual public holiday is an opportunity to celebrate hard-working professionals in all lines of work, by commemorating the success of international workers’ rights groups, such as the Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions (FOTLU).

In 1884, it was the FOTLU who stood up for workers everywhere by demanding better working conditions and new employment standards, such as an 8 hour working day. On May 1st 1886, thousands of workers attended a strike organised by FOTLU, demanding this request be taken seriously.

Every nation has their own unique history of working-class heroes who forged the way for the next generation by improving general working conditions. International Workers Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to those who continue to dedicate their lives in the name of workers rights.

International Workers Day: Profession Perceptions 

In the spirit of representation and celebration of all workers, we have analysed the Profession Perceptions international study conducted by YouGov, reviewing the feedback of 22,000 participants from 16 countries. All of these individuals were asked about their preconceived notions of different jobs and we have compiled this report of our eye-opening findings.

As a company, we provide a financial comparison service to workers from all occupational backgrounds and are dedicated to finding our customers the safest, fastest and cheapest ways to send money overseas. Our global customer base is diverse and we work hard to identify the unique requirements of each user, in order to cater to all demographics.

We believe everyone – regardless of profession, income or location – should have access to high-quality, low-cost money transfer solutions. We present customers with a range of suitable payment options best suited to their needs, without jeopardising any of their hard-earned cash.

Profession Perceptions: Parental Support

At the end of 2020, participants from 16 nations were asked whether or not they would be happy for their child to pursue different lines of work. To examine how people feel about each job, all 22,000 respondents had to answer the following question truthfully: “Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, generally speaking, would you be happy or unhappy if one of your children held this kind of job?”

According to the data, German people are most encouraging of their childrens’ careers, no matter what job title they hold. From conventional roles such as lawyer (79%), medical doctor (80%) and architect (82%), to more unconventional career paths like artist (53%) and Musician (56%), we found German respondents approved of most occupations.

The generally supportive and positive outlook of German respondents in this study could be explained by the fact national job satisfaction in the country is one of the highest in Europe. In a 2019 survey 71% of Germans said they were satisfied with their job: putting the country in 6th place, globally, in terms of job satisfaction.

In terms of general support for their children’s career choices, the UK and Sweden came in second and third place, respectively, after Germany. Conversely, we found Spain to be the least supportive country; with only 1 in 3 Spanish parents approving of their children’s chosen profession.

Profession Perceptions: Nursing

It came as a surprise to learn that nursing received a mixed response from participants in this study. Of the 16 countries involved in the study, the highest negative response to nursing comes from Poland, where 33% of parents say they would be unhappy if their child chose to pursue a career as a nurse.

We discovered that only 4 in 10 (38%) Polish parents would support their child’s choice to become a nurse. This is the lowest figure reported in Europe, surpassed only by Mexico (37%) and China (30%).

Comparatively, 71% of Britons say they would be happy for their child to pursue a career in nursing. Britons voted medical doctor as another highly-respected profession, so according to this study, parents in the UK value occupations in the healthcare field more than other nationalities. 

These statistics follow reports of a huge increase in support for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS): from 46% of the UK population in March 2020 to 72% in March 2021. It would appear respect for nurses has increased as a direct result of the integral role healthcare workers have played in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) there are only 5 nurses for every 1,000 people in Poland; the 5th lowest of all the OECD countries. This could explain Polish parents’ negative response to nursing as a profession, as the country’s healthcare system is likely to be suffering as a result of staff shortages. This will have had a knock-on effect to working conditions and for this reason, Polish parents may not want their children to venture down this particular career path.

The support for nursing careers from UK parents was closely followed by Australia and the United States, who both expressed happiness at the prospect of their child pursuing nursing. Given the fact Australia and the United States have more than double the number of nurses as Poland – 11.8 per 1,000 population – it is likely the working conditions experienced by their nurses are substantially better than in Poland. This could explain the different perceptions of this line of work.

Despite the UK’s outpouring of encouragement for the nursing profession in this study, the country’s National Health Service has battled with significant staff shortages for the last decade. Over the last 10 years, the NHS has seen a substantial decline in the number of registered nurses, reporting vacancies in approximately 1 in 10 nursing posts. As a result, the nation relies heavily on the recruitment of foreign nurses.

For many of these foreign nurses, living and working in the UK will mean leaving family and friends behind, as well as their lives in their home countries. We understand that expatriate nurses, along with all international workers, may need to send and receive money internationally: these workers are one demographic we strive to provide affordable and flexible transfer options for.

Other countries mirroring the UK’s positive attitude toward nurses includes Australia (71%), the United States (69%), and Germany (65%). Interestingly, these three countries have some of the highest proportions of foreign nurses of the 16 participating countries.

Profession Perceptions: Lowest Rated Jobs

The jobs ranked lowest by parents include professions as a miner, truck driver and factory worker: miners were ranked lowest by parents in Spain, Mexico and Italy. 

As a profession, social media influencer was generally unpopular across the board, especially with Europeans: almost half of Spanish respondents (48%) revealed they would be unhappy if their child pursued this job. The same opinion is held by 43% of parents in Germany and Poland, 41% in the UK and Italy, 40% in France, 38% in Denmark and 36% in Sweden. 

Due to the growing number of social media users globally, jobs in influencer marketing are on the rise, despite it being a profession which did not existing 10 years ago. Typically a self-employed role, social media influencers often freelance for international clients and therefore are interested in learning how to avoid bank charges for global transfers. In some countries, this is a lucrative occupation; some of the most wealthy social media stars have built online empires worth millions.

We wanted to find out why parents’ did not approve of careers in social media influencing, despite its seemingly glamorous nature. In a 2019 study 2,000 British parents took part in a survey about their children’s career aspirations. According to the research, 1 in 5 children had vocalised a desire to become a social media influencer. However, 58% of the parents who took part in the survey did not know this was a profitable profession and almost half (45%) did not understand what the role entailed. With this in mind, we believe a lack of understanding could explain the negative response from parents in the Profession Perceptions study.

Profession Perceptions: Highest Rated Jobs

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the data reveals conventionally high-paid, high-responsibility professions like scientist, doctor, architect, senior manager and lawyer are the most popular among parents. Historically these jobs are well-respected professions in most countries, so it is not surprising that parents from all over the world hold these jobs in high regard.

Scientist and medical doctor were the top two most popular jobs according to parents and we expect this also ties into the public’s perception of these occupations following the crucial part they played during COVID-19.

Bottom line

Overall, this study suggests Britons are more encouraging and supportive of their children’s career choices than most nationalities. On average, only Australian and German parents were reported to have more favourable perceptions of professions than UK parents.

Whether you are a German architect or a Spanish musician, we understand workers everywhere need to arrange international money transfers for all sorts of reasons. We remove the difficulty in searching for the best deal, guiding you through every single step of your domestic or international payment, making sure your money is sent instantly to your payee, wherever they are in the world.

As a global comparison site providing reliable, low-cost money transfer options to our users, it is important for us to offer transparent financial services that benefit not only the sender, but also the receiver. We want to help customers all over the world secure the right money transfer provider for their financial situation, regardless of occupational background.

We work hard to provide a range of services; from sending money instantly to family and friends, to arranging recurring large bank-to-bank transfers, a plethora of information is available across our website. Check out our easy-to-use comparison tool and see how we can help make your next money transfer experience as smooth as possible.

Methodology 

Eager to understand how different countries’ perceive different professions, MoneyTransfers.com analysed data acquired by YouGov in their latest international study, to compile this special International Workers Day report.

22,000 people from 16 countries were surveyed as part of the study. The countries surveyed included: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Poland, the United States, Mexico, UAE, India, Australia, China, Indonesia and Singapore.

To discover how parents in these 16 countries respond to different professions, the study asked each participant, “Outside of the coronavirus pandemic, generally speaking would you be happy or unhappy if one of your children held this kind of job? If you don’t have children imagine that you did.”

For this question, respondents could pick one answer from a choice of three possible options: ‘Happy’, ‘Neither happy nor unhappy’ or ‘Unhappy’

In order to appropriately analyse the feedback from each country, MoneyTransfers.com grouped the data presented into the following categories for further analysis: “The 5 Most Popular Professions According to Parents”, “The 5 Least Popular Professions According to Parents”, “The Proportion of Foreign Trained Nurses in OECD Countries; 2019 or latest year”, “Practising Nurses per 1,000 population; 2019 or most recent year”, “How Parents in Different Countries Perceive Nursing as a Profession” and “How Parents in Different Countries Support their Children’s Career Choices.”

April Summers

April is a journalist and full-time content writer for MoneyTransfers.com. Over the last decade she has written for a number of different online and print publications. Having lived overseas in Canada and Vietnam, April hopes to see more of the world as soon as possible, with Japan at the top of her travel list. As a former expat, April has first-hand experience of managing finances from overseas. She enjoys writing about forex trends and the future of banking.