30% Club launches national student survey

London, 10 November 2015 – The 30% Club has launched its first Think Future Study, rolling the survey out nationally across the UK to female and male students alike. The survey, the first of its kind, intends to provide insight into how students aged 18-25, particularly women, feel their university experiences shape and influence their aspirations for the future. 

The survey is now live and will remain open until 27 November.

The survey, sponsored by KPMG, was piloted at Cambridge University as the Students’ Aspiration Survey in January 2015, and revealed that female students are significantly less confident than men in their ability to advance their chosen career to senior level.  Over half of female respondents were hesitant to enter “male gendered” sectors, such as financial services, as they felt that the workplace culture would be hostile and unsupportive. 

In addition, 30% of women felt that negative and inaccurate assumptions were made about their level of ambition due to their gender, and just under 50% of women felt that society still expected them to put family before a career.

Helena Eccles, an undergraduate student at Cambridge University who created the Think Future Study, is at Mercer’s Gender Diversity Conference in Brussels today to speak on the results of the pilot survey and discuss the role that universities can play in accelerating gender diversity in the workforce.

Commenting on the origins of the Think Future Study, she said:

“The results of the Cambridge pilot showed us the latent need to tackle the concerns of university students on a national scale, and we have taken the next step in rolling out what is now known as the Think Future Study to a broader and more diverse range of universities.

This research fills a knowledge gap about female students’ perceptions, but more importantly it addresses how exactly time spent at university shapes young women’s aspirations for the future.  

My sincere thanks go to the 30% Club for the opportunity to lead this project, to KPMG for rolling-out the survey and of course to all participating universities. I look forward to sharing the results and a plan of action which will address the most important issues raised.”

Brenda Trenowden, European FIG Head, ANZ and 30% Club Global Chair, said of the national roll-out: 

“After the success of the Cambridge pilot, we are pleased to have taken this next step and launched the Think Future Study nationally. In looking to analyse student ambitions, this survey is key to improving the diagnosis around the subsequent career divergence of men and women. With huge thanks to KPMG for their continued support, we now look forward to gaining a national perspective on student aspirations and to building an action plan to address the issues raised.”

Results of the survey will be announced on 21 April 2016 at the 30% Club’s Higher Education Seminar. 

The survey can be accessed here: www.kpmg.com/30pcthinkfuture.