How TV Is Inspiring Career Ambitions

The bright lights of Hollywood and the gripping nature of a Netflix series has always captivated audiences and made some of us want to become film stars or award-winning directors. However, the TV and movie industry may also be inspiring everyday jobs that you can apply for on Jobrapido – not just creating dreams of winning awards and walking down The Oscars’ red carpet.

It has been suggested that scripted TV shows are having a huge effect on young people’s career choices, with many shows pointing viewers towards careers in medicine, law and working for the police force.

What the Research Tells Us

Rutgers University undergraduate researchers watched over 200 episodes of scripted TV shows that are also watched by young people and teenagers who are soon required to make plans within education and future careers. Their findings suggest that these shows do influence career ambitions. Here is what they found:

  1. Scripted shows tend to make a conscious effort to include diversity, and this can help minority groups to consider professions outside of their family history. However, TV scripts still tend to devalue women in the workplaces as fewer women occupy high-profile jobs.
  2. Scripted TV is accurate at portraying the struggles and moments in the day-to-day lives of different professionals. However, these shows do not dive into the career trajectory that got them there. Thus making viewers unaware of what they need to do to get these jobs or the hard work that is needed to get there.
  3. The most popular shows give their characters high-profile professions such as lawyers, medical staff and police officers. These professions attract interest and drama because of what they entail, but it may also be helping viewers to aim high and increase social mobility.

The takeaway from the research is that TV characters become relatable, and it is not uncommon for young people to base real career decisions and education choices based on what they have seen on TV shows. Sometimes this can be positive, but it may also set unrealistic expectations or trick students into thinking that getting into a profession is easy.

Top Shows and Characters That May Be Influencing Career Ambitions

Considering the research, here are some TV shows and main characters that may have influenced people’s career choices:

Suits – university law department may be filling up because of the characters on Suits, most notably Meghan Markle. The royal may be partly responsible for a 20% rise in female law degree applicants through UCAS.

Grey’s Anatomy – one show that may be increasing interest in a career as a doctor or surgeon is Grey’s Anatomy. The recognition of the characters and their inspiration will make any viewer consider a medical career.

Homeland – Homeland doesn’t just portray the excitement as working as a detective, but it also breaks barriers and stereotypes by including Claire Danes as one of the leads. This may just be helping young girls to consider a career in the police force.