Realising aspirations? Gender, ethnicity and job inequalities ShareThis


As part of he 2018 ESRC Festival of Social Science, CLS highlighted the latest findings from MCS and Next Steps regarding young people's career aspirations.

About the event

This event explored recent research on the occupational aspirations of boys and girls of different ethnic groups, with the first viewing of an animation on gendered choices and a panel discussion of the barriers that may prevent those from minority ethnic groups achieving their aspirations.

There were two elements to the event. The first involved the debut screening of an animation relating to findings on the ways boys and girls continue to express highly gendered preferences about their future jobs. The animation was followed by a discussion of the challenges in changing stereotypes and expectations relating to “men’s” and “women’s” work among youth, and different approaches.

The second part of the event provided the opportunity for discussion of occupational aspirations of children from different ethnic groups and how they evolve across their childhoods. This is a previously unstudied area and the findings have been captured in a short briefing, available at the event. This shows that children from minority ethnic groups are not only aspiring to be highly educated but also to participate in ‘good jobs’ to a greater extent than their majority counterparts. Educational outcomes are tracking these aspirations, but job outcomes do not seem to be to the same extent.

How do we understand these findings? What are the factors enabling and preventing boys and girls from different ethnic groups from achieving their ambitions in adulthood? Panellists with expertise in education, women’s rights and race equality offered their perspective on the findings and the audience were invited to join the discussion and share  their reflections and ideas for ways forward.


Omar Khan (@omaromalleykhan) is the Director of Runnymede, the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank.

Heidi Mirza (@HeidiMirza) is Professor Emerita at UCL, is a black feminist professor of race equality and women’s rights, and author of works on education and race and gender inequality.

Samantha Parsons is Research Associate at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL and works on adult basic skills, disability and socioeconomic disadvantage.

Lucinda Platt (@PlattLucinda) is Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at LSE, and works on ethnicity, migration and inequality.

Esohe Uwadiae is a 2017 LSE Law Graduate and former Education Officer for LSESU. She currently works as a Senior Faculty Administrator for Regent’s University London.

Nik Miller (@bridge_group) is Chief Executive of the Bridge Group. Prior to his appointment he worked in the USA, at the University of Warwick, and was most recently Head of Corporate and Alumni Relations at the University of York.


If you have any queries, or would like to know more about this event, please contact our Communications and Events Assistant, Jennie Blows (