Educational and occupational aspirations: influences and outcomes

Educational and occupational aspirations of young people: influences and outcomes is a research project investigating the role of aspirations on social reproduction and social mobility across the divides of gender, ethnicity, disability and social class. In it, we are asking:

  1. What are the early adult consequences of high educational expectations?
  2. What factors are implicated in the development and trajectories of young people’s aspirations over their teenage years; and how do these intersect with educational achievements?
  3. What are the family and individual influences on gendered occupational choices of boys and girls at age 14?
  4. How do boys’ and girls’ gendered occupational aspirations develop between ages 7 and 14?

The project is part of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) Cross Cohort Research Programme, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project is part of a wider body of work, From school to work: getting on equally, which examines how children progress through school and on to university and work, what factors and aspects of their lives help them get on and thrive and what things hold them back.

The data

This project uses data from three longitudinal studies:

Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), exploiting information collected from its participants at age 14.

Next Steps, previously known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England, LSYPE), making use of the information collected when its participants turned 25.

National Child Development Study 1958 (NCDS),  using the information collected when the participants turned 50.

Roles and responsibilities

I lead the project, working closely with Sam Parsons, who is based at the Institute of Education at UCL.

Miriam Schmaus from the University of Bamberg was research intern on the project in 2017.


We were delighted to work closely on the project with Philippa Stobbs from the Council for Disabled Children and Omar Khan from the Runnymede Trust.

Project outputs

Research from the project will be submitted to a range of leading journals in the coming months. We have also created a number of briefings and leaflets, which have been produced with non academics in mind. All our outputs are freely available online and to download.

Published journal articles

In production.

Working Papers

Policy briefings


Media coverage