Asian Graduates Say Families Influence Job Choices

Asian Graduates Say Families Influence Job Choices

A quarter of British Asian students say their families have a significant influence on their choice of career according to research carried out on behalf of the Tesco Asian Network – a group inside Tesco that aims to help Tesco’s British Asian employees develop their careers within the company and attract more people of British Asian ethnicity to join the business.

In a poll carried out on university campuses across the UK, 24% of British Asian students said their families have a significant influence on their choice of career. This is much higher than for White British people where only 9% said their families had a significant influence on their choice of career.

The responses of the British Asian students ranged from those who went as far as to put their families’ wishes ahead of their own (3%) and going with the career their parents’ suggested (3%), to those who said their family’s views strongly influenced their decision (18%).

Only 32% of British Asian graduates said their families had had no influence on their choice of career at all – compared to almost half (47%) of the White British control group.

Faisal Sheikh, a programme manager at and a spokesperson for the Tesco Asian Network said: “With families having such a significant influence on Asian Graduates career choice, Tesco realises the importance of getting this message out to them. As a result, the Asian Network is working on a number of promotional activities in 2009 aimed not only at Graduates, but at their parents as well. We’re developing a careers brochure for graduate jobs aimed at parents and grandparents. Members of the Asian Network will attend graduate careers fairs to talk to parents as well as students.”

When Tesco asked British Asian parents and grandparents what careers they would prefer their children to go into, most popular were traditional careers such as Medicine (24%), Law (19%), and Accountancy (14%). Retail did not feature in their thinking. (see CHART 1).

Tesco is a FTSE 20 company, and the largest private sector employer in the UK. Although the stores are the public side of the business, Tesco employs lawyers, accountants, IT and professionals, as well as pharmacists, architects and opticians.

Faisal Sheikh, continued: “We know many Asian students aren’t aware of the potential benefits of a career in Retail. For instance, most Asian graduates think they could earn between £50,000 and £75,000 a year after 10 or 15 years with Tesco. But senior managers who have been with us that long can take home £75,000 to £100,000. This research suggests parents and grandparents have some of the same misconceptions. Our concern is that they remember retailing from twenty years ago, which is very different to retailing today.

“We employ hundreds of thousands of people, working in almost every profession you can think of – including some of those traditional careers like law and accountancy that British Asian parents are keener to see their children and grandchildren go into. Not only is there the opportunity to pursue these traditional careers but – due to the size and diversity of a company like Tesco – people are also able to change career if they feel they want a different experience. Many of the more traditional firms just can’t offer that.”

There are approximately 23,500 British Asians working for Tesco in the UK, out of a total of 286,392 employees – 8.2% of the national workforce.

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