Aspirations are often suggested as an explanation for childrens' outcomes. This report, on the occupational aspirations of children, jointly published with the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, provides evidence on career aspirations among boys and girls of different ethnic groups, using the Millennium Cohort Study.
One of the key findings is that ethnic minority children have higher aspirations than white British children. Among most ethnic groups, boys have higher aspirations than girls, especially at age 7, when parental influences are more influential compared to age 16, when peers and teachers have an effect. The one exception are Bangladeshi girls, who have higher aspirations than Bangladeshi boys at age 7: there is no evidence that any ethnic minority parents have lower aspirations for their daughters compared to white British parents.
The report, written by Lucinda Platt and Samantha Parsons, compares career aspirations to labour market outcomes. It note that despite their higher aspirations, ethnic minorities experience inequalities in the labour market, suggesting raising aspirations is unlikely to be a successful policy for tackling longstanding employment disparities.