Young people hope to be earning ￡35000 as writers or actors by the time they turn 30 - but often end up manning checkouts.
The grim conclusion emerged in analysis of evidence on how the aspirations of teenagers match up to the reality.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compared findings on the top five jobs 16-21 year-olds wanted to do in 2011-12 with what jobs 22-29 year olds were doing last year.
Teaching was the only dream job that a significant proportion of young people managed to achieve.
Nearly 9 per cent said they wanted that to be their career and 4.5 per cent ended up working in the profession.
But while 11 per cent had expressed a wish to work in the arts literary sphere or media just 1.4 per cent realised that goal.
Some 8.1 per cent wanted to be health professionals such as doctors or vets. However by last year just 1.7 per cent did.
Almost half of 16 to 21-year-olds in 2015-2016 thought it was very likely they would go into higher education.
In reality 38 per cent 22-29 year-olds had a degree as their highest qualification last year.
Shadow minister for young people Cat Smith said: 'The younger generation have been disproportionately hit by austerity from a tough jobs market to struggling with the high cost of housing and rising student debt.
'This Government has no plans to address the challenges they face. The Tories are failing young people across the country.
'Labour will stand up for young people and build a fairer society where every young person has the opportunity to succeed.'
Shortie Somewhere United Kingdom 10 hours ago
Yes anyone who's worked with or tried to hire a kid straight from college knows their expectations are in la-la-land. The majority do a pointless degree (e.g. media studies) then expect to be able to walk into a job paying ￡30k a year rather than start in a junior post and work their way up - and God forbid you ask them to make you a cuppa or run an errand.
Emmy Pangaea United Kingdom 10 hours ago
No that's not my experience at all. Most of the young people I've worked with have been great. Perhaps it your attitude that's the problem?
Berry231 Glasgow Antigua and Barbuda 58 minutes ago
Why shouldn't they expect a decent paying job? I didn't walk into one admittedly but a few years out of uni I was earning more than ￡30K a year so were over half of my friends. We did it because we saw what the higher paying jobs wanted and we full filled the requirements. I came from a poor background and did a competitive degree at a russell group uni I've worked and studied hard all my life why is it so wrong to you that I should reap the rewards of my efforts?
john glasgow United Kingdom 10 hours ago
So in most cases a degree made no difference. It looks like University for all was and still is a Government scam to get people off the unemployment statistics.
D Dortman South Pole Antarctica 9 hours ago
Also quite strangely they are less likely to have a job whilst studying now in 1992 40.3% of students worked as well as studied in 2016 only 35.3% of students worked and studied.
yeahinnit London United Kingdom 6 hours ago
"Traditional" student jobs like bar work and waiting tables are often taken by other people. With 24 hour drinking many employers want people to work anti-social hours which make studying more difficult. Also more people are prepared to work part-time for a few hours at a time.
Maverick42 Manchester United Kingdom 9 hours ago
This is so true. My friends daughter thinks at 21 she's going to afford a glass fronted apartment Audi Q5 and go out every night !
Pip Brighton 4 hours ago
Dobby: you are so typical of people on this site s l a g g i n g off our young folk. Makes my blood boil. My son and his friends are great kids have always had weekend jobs respect for others and a good work ethic. They have worked hard to achieve. And it's not actually uncommon in the real world. Whereas if like you people get most of their information from this site then they have a very skewed view of the world. Give young people a break. You were young once... or perhaps not!
Richo Clacton United Kingdom 10 hours ago
Try doing something worthwhile like learning a trade instead of arty f arty pointless subjects
Steven Tiara London United Kingdom 7 hours ago
Hobby degrees lead to hobby jobs.
ONnONnON Manchester United Kingdom 10 hours ago
That's about ￡40k my partner is a teacher and she earns more than that my brother was a headteacher until last July and was earning over a ￡100k a year. Australia is an expensive place to live I have worked (as a chartered aerospace engineer) there it isn't all its made out to be but a good experience though.
Gagey Grimsby United Kingdom 10 hours ago
They don't seem to need money all living with mum and dad having everything done for them
Quick hurry up Cuckoo Land United Kingdom 9 hours ago
I did an apprenticeship 30yrs ago and am now earning 4 times the national average. My kids won't be going to that cynical money grab that's dressed up as university.