Eyebrows were raised at the Manufacturing Foundation, when a survey carried out by the independent think tank in four West Midlands comprehensives showed that fat cat entrepreneurial jobs were a big turn-off among pupils.
Popular TV series like The Bill, Casualty and ER were partly the cause of the rise in interest in the public sector, according to the foundation, with many Year 10s as keen to chase jobs in the police and the medical profession.
The study showed 30 per cent of 11 to 14 year olds aspired to work in the public sector, while less than one per cent of the 1,700 children questioned wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial career such as setting up their own business, and less than five per cent chose manufacturing or finance.
Worried by these findings, the Manufacturing Foundation have decided to launch a new national award for the Best Partnership between Business and Education.
Manufacturing Foundation director, James Bentley said: "Public sector jobs are crucial to our society, but how will we be able to pay for everything if so few children are attracted towards careers in the enterprise economy?" Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, was thrilled by the findings.He said: "This is good news. For years the public sector has been seen as the poor relation to the private sector where the prizes appear to be more glittering in terms of pay, benefits, and bonuses."
However, Mr Prentis did sound a note of caution: "TV might not match up to the reality in that line of work," he said.
"Sadly, in our experience many working in the public services find the long hours, low pay and stress quite detrimental. But there is the pay-off in terms of a job that benefits society as a whole."