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We clapped for them, we put rainbows in our windows for them, but has Covid-19 seen any more of our kids want to be them? Our report looks into the rise of their demand, as well as shedding light on the aspirations of future generations.

43% of kids want to be a key worker after Covid lockdown

According to our survey, a staggering 43% of children aged between 4 and 16 now want to be a key worker having seen the impact they made during the coronavirus lockdown. Key workers, who range from NHS staff through to delivery drivers, teachers and social care workers, have been nothing short of superheroes during recent months, and have rightfully been given the spotlight as they helped to keep the nation running.

This media attention has seen almost half of children aspire to be a key worker when they grow up, while previously sought after jobs such as athlete (2.99%) and social media influencer (8.98%) have dropped down the pecking order.

16% of 16 year-olds now want to work for the NHS

Our data shows us that 16% of the people next in line to work now want to be part of the NHS, after lockdown saw them finally getting the recognition they deserve. As they approach the end of their school years, 16 year-olds have difficult decisions to make about where they want to head next, with uni, college or work all on the horizon.

53% said Covid hadn’t changed their career outlook, but 16% said they were planning to train towards being a doctor or nurse having seen the vital role they’ve played. Other high scoring careers were social worker (8%) and business owner (12%), as both the idea of caring for others and bettering yourself struck a chord.

Glasgow has most would-be doctors and nurses in the UK

Across the cities included in our survey, Glasgow came out as top when it came to children who wanted to work for the NHS when they grow up. 34% of children there told us Covid had opened their eyes to a career in care, beating off competition from the likes of Liverpool (31%) and London (22%).

3.8% of 10 year-olds want to be delivery drivers

Where would we have been without our delivery drivers over the last few months? Hungry, that’s where. From delivering our weekly shop through to helping us feel better with a bit of retail therapy, delivery drivers have kept the country running while the rest of us have been staying safe indoors. 10 year-olds are the age range to recognise this most, as 3.8% of them want to do exactly that when they grow up. The highest scoring job for 10 year-olds was, just like every other age we asked, NHS doctor or nurse. Our medical future looks like it’ll be full of bright young minds.

Over half of West Somerset is already a key worker

With 51% of the people who live in West Somerset classed as a key worker, it could have been the best place to live during lockdown. Needed a check-up? Struggling to get a delivery slot for your weekly shopping? There’s every chance your neighbour could have been able to help, with 1 in 2 people there being the recipients of our weekly rounds of applause. Well done, West Somerset.

Other areas that deserve our thanks included Boston in Lincolnshire, with 42% of the population employed as a key worker, and Scarborough in North Yorkshire, where 41% of people have been busy keeping Britain afloat.

At the other end of the scale, you’ll struggle to find a key worker in Camden (25%) or Hammersmith and Fulham (24.5%), where the average rent may well be beyond the annual income of most school teachers (£34,119) and social workers (£29,276).

Vets see 53% increase in job listings

When compared to the same time last year, vets are in high demand. With a 53% increase in job listings, people’s pets have needed just as much looking after as we have during lockdown, and more cover is clearly needed to do a good job.

Pharmacists saw the second highest increase in job listings, with 15% more job ads out there than in July 2019

Dental nurses see a 49% increase in pay compared to 2019

Seeing a dentist hasn’t been easy during lockdown, with face masks making it especially difficult for them to do their jobs. However, for those who have still been in practice, a significant pay rise could be on the cards. The average listed salary for a dental nurse in 2019 was £24,186, compared to £35,594 today. Now could be a great time to get into teeth.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Have you gone on to do it? Would you want to be something different if you were a child now? When we were at school everyone quite liked the idea of growing up to be David Beckham, but that never quite worked out. News can certainly play a part in what kids aspire to be, and we hope everyone who wants to go on to be a key worker achieves their dreams.


We surveyed 1,002 children between 4 and 16 years old, asking them if Covid-19 had made them want to do something different when they grew up.

We also used data from the Office of National Statistics to compare the changes in job listings and advertised salaries.

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