Visual media has an inevitable impact on the way we picture our future.
Whether we’re inspired by the glamourous stars of Hollywood, or have watered down our aspirations to meet more realistic expectations – throwing off dreams of being ‘it girls’ for an office life that is closer to comedy show The IT crowd – new research has found that our career choices are influenced by watch we watch on TV.
Almost one in five Brits (18%) admits that they have based career choices on TV role models, with that percentage rising to 39% for Millennials.
The Careers on the Box report, conducted by Fletchers Solicitors, surveyed 1,000 UK adults and found that Brits are twice as likely to watch shows about police, lawyers and medics, than programmes about gardeners, journalists or artists.
Over the last 50 years lawyers have been the most featured profession on top-rated TV shows.
Characters that influenced career-choice the most came from nineties American series ‘Law and Order’, closely followed by ‘Judge Rinder’. Home grown lawyers such as ‘Judge John Deed’ and ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’ are more influential than characters from US counterparts, ‘Ally McBeal’ and ‘LA Law’.
Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors, said that the impact of TV role models should not be underestimated: “Professions such as the law, police and healthcare should be enormously grateful to TV shows for helping to inspire and shape their future recruits. Certainly, growing up, I was fascinated by those TV lawyers who fought against the odds to secure justice for their clients and I suppose that still affects how I see my job today.
“It also suggests that maybe TV companies could have a role in helping inspire people into professions where there is going to be most need in ten or twenty years’ time. Maybe we need shows that popularise engineers or mathematicians to help shape future generations.”
The top 10 most common professions on television during the 1970s – 2000s are listed below:
- Cook/ caterer
- Musician/ popstar
Top 10 TV Law role models:
- Jack McCoy – Law and Order
- Judge Rinder
- Judge John Deed
- Michael Kuzak – LA Law
- Ally McBeal
- Rumpole of the Bailey
- Perry Mason
- Rachel Zane – Suits
- Kavanagh Q.C.
- Martha Costello – Silk