When they grow up

A report on parents' aspirations for their children's futures


What aspirations do you have for your child? What aspirations does your child have?

From the moment we learn we're expecting, it's only natural to start wondering about what your child's future will hold. Will they be happy? Will they get the job they want? Will they be successful? These are all normal things that most parents think about.

With the aspirations you have for your child, however, can come worries about the chances they'll get in life, and whether they'll be able to fulfil their dreams.

We surveyed over 1,000 parents to find out what their aspirations are for their children, and how they view their futures. We even asked some of their children, to see how much parental hopes and childhood dreams differ.

As well as providing reassurance that the things you're thinking about are the same things other parents are pondering, we hope that by being open about these aspirations it will help parents with planning for their children's futures whatever they may be.

A parents perspective of their childrens' future

What parents think their children need to achieve their life goals


need to have savings


need good family support


need a good education


need a good career focus


need a good support network

Key Factors

Hover over key segments to get a breakdown of percentages

  • Savings
  • Family Support
  • Good Education
  • Career Focus
  • Support Network
Footballer Doctor Policeman Businessman Teacher Vet
Dream Job


of parents said it is 'important' or 'very important' for their child to obtain their dream job

These days... competiton is fierce and there are fewer opportunities

Of course, no matter how gifted or hard-working a person is, there are external factors which impact on our ability to achieve our goals. Problems in the national economy can suddenly change the working landscape dramatically, as it did in 2008.

Both in terms of the amount of jobs available and the types of roles on offer, today’s jobs market has a very different look to it than it did when today’s parents were just starting out – and you can be sure that things will look very different again in 20 years’ time.Over a third of parents (37%) believe their child will find it harder to achieve their life goals than they did because there is more competition for job roles than they faced when they started their careers, while a similar proportion (36%) believe job opportunities are also now fewer in number than they were when they were younger. Saving money is also more difficult for today’s young people, according to 28% of parents polled, while 35% believe it’s going to be harder for their kids to purchase property.


of parents believe their child will find it harder to achieve their life goals than they did because there is more competition for job roles.

Can your child survive without financial support?

The financial crisis that began in 2007 saw a number of leading financial institutions hit hard, and some even collapsed under the pressure.

As a result many parents have stepped in to help children secure mortgages and support living expenses where maybe they wouldn't have had to before. With university costs having risen significantly in recent years also, this adds further pressure to parents looking to support their child's aspirations.

Less than half of parents are confident that their child will be able to achieve their life goals without financial support from family and friends. Just 12.7% of parents polled are "very confident" that their child will be able to fend for themselves financially, with a further 36.7% stating they were "confident". Yet 15.4% are either "not confident" or "completely unconfident" that their child will achieve what they want to without their financial help.


of parents are ‘very confident’ that their child will be able to fend for themselves financially

Parents vs Children A different Perspective

By the age of 30...

So what would parents like to see their children achieving by the time they grow up? Many mums and dads have an idea about the types of things that will help their children get on in life and achieve their goals – from education to jobs and homeownership. But which aspects do parents consider to be most important for their children's futures?

Only a quarter (26%) want to see their children having kids of their own by the time they are 30. Half (50.3%) want their child to have graduated from university, while a slightly higher proportion (54.6%) want their kids to be homeowners by the time they reach 30.

The top choice however, by some distance, was related to work: 82.4% of parents want their children to have found a job they enjoy by this age.

One of the surprising things from our survey was that travel experiences appear to be more important to parents than marriage: 43.9% of parents want their child to have travelled extensively by the age of 30, compared to 36.7% who want see their child having married or found a life partner.


want their kids to be homeowners by the time they reach 30

Parents' vs. Children's views of their priorities at the age of 30

Select priority from the list below to see breakdown of results

Get married

28% Child
37% Parent


When they grow up I want them to be...

What parents want their kids to be when they grow up...


Want their kids to do anything that makes them happy












When I grow up I want to be...

What children want to be when they grow up...


Have no idea what they want to do!











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