A third of people change their career plans at least three times after getting their A-level results and only one in three end up working in the career they chose at secondary school, a survey commissioned by London South Bank University (LSBU) has revealed.
With most people laying out the plans for their future careers whilst in their teens, it is no surprise 70 per cent opt for a 'Plan B' - or even plan C, D or E - and the study also showed that some people change career directions up to six times.
The findings will be reassuring to thousands of A-level students who did not get in their first university choice or who are having a change of heart about their existing plans - and clearing presents an opportunity to take stock and re-evaluate.
"Results day is an opportunity for many A-level students to re-think the choices they made many months or even years previously", says Lynn Grimes, Director of UK Student Recruitment at London South Bank University (LSBU).
"Clearing allows students who did better than their predicted grades to change their minds and apply for different universities if they wish through a process called 'adjustment', as well as matching students who didn't do as well as expected with places that remain on other courses.
"It's also not just a chance to change your mind about your chosen university or course, but also an opportunity for many - who previously had not considered going to university for whatever reason - to re-evaluate that decision and apply through clearing."
The LSBU survey, carried out by Opinion Matters between 19 July - 29 July 2013, amongst a panel resulting in 2,000 respondents, showed that only one in three are working in or towards the industry they selected in secondary school or college, but this may by no means be a bad thing: almost 50 per cent of people are working in a career they did not expect to be in - but they are enjoying it.
Furthermore, having a degree in our back pocket gives us more confidence to switch careers later on - with two thirds of graduates over 30 currently considering a career change compared to less than half of non-graduates.
"Unlike previous the generations of our parents or grandparents, where many people worked in the same job or industry until retirement, choosing a university course at 17 or 18 no longer means committing to one area for the rest of our lives", said Lynn Grimes. "Studying a subject that ends up being less relevant to the career you originally chose or move into needn't hold you back at all."