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In UK, ethnicity guides career choices

india Updated: Aug 09, 2006 12:59 IST

Career choice, it seems, depends not only on one's command over a certain field but also on his/her ethnicity.

A recent survey of career choices has revealed that Asian and Chinese students are more likely to go for well-paid jobs in the financial sector, while whites, are more likely to go for ones that promise good pension facilities and come with dollops of holiday entitlement.

The findings revealed that nearly one third of students from Chinese families claimed that they would opt for investment banking as their ideal industry, compared to only eight percent students from white British homes.

Dream jobs for the white students are most likely to be found in the public sector, such as the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the National Health Service, the Telegraph quoted the survey report from Universum as saying.

It said white students put a good retirement plan, paid overtime and extra holiday as the three most important factors influencing their career choices. Elsewhere, Chinese and Asian students choose performance-related bonuses in preference to holidays, company cars and pensions.

For Black British students, the priority was health care benefits followed by extra financial rewards for good performance.

For all students, except those of Chinese origin, media major BBC was the ideal employer.

While white students put the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as number two on their wish-list, Asian students chose accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, as their preferred choice.

Hong Kong based HSBC bank was cited as the most sought after employer for Chinese students, followed by American banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Suneal Housley, a consultant at Universum Communications, said the survey of 7,760 students in Britain showed that there was quantifiable difference between ethnic groups in the specific types of companies and compensation packages they sought.

In essence, white students are more likely to seek a balance between their personal lives and careers compared to students from other ethnic group, said Suneal.

Sandra Kerr, national director of the Race for Opportunity campaign said the fact that more than a third of the Chinese students were engaged in business-related degrees compared with 14.9 per cent of those from indigenous white families, showed that students from the ethnic minorities were attracted to companies that sought them out and stressed their commitment to diversity.

They were also more likely than white British students to be influenced by their parents, who encouraged them to aim for top, well-paid jobs with global companies, she said.

"It is in line with other research showing that black and Asian young people are very ambitious, though sometimes it dissipates once in the workplace. Parents have a powerful influence in some communities and companies know they have to make an impression on them and show their commitment to diversity if they want to recruit their children," Kerr said.

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