More than one-in-four 18-24-year olds are afraid that poor mental health will affect their ability to find a job in future, according to new research published by the Resolution Foundation. Their research used new YouGov survey data to highlight young workers’ concerns about what might lie ahead, and about how mental health struggles that have grown during the Covid-19 crisis could affect their future job prospects.
A key finding was that young workers were the least likely to say that their mental health is good, with only 48% reporting good, very good or excellent mental health when surveyed (compared to 64% of 55-to-64-year olds).
Poor mental health is most prevalent among young women (24%), students (23%), low-paid workers (27%) and those not working (28%) or facing financial difficulties (33%).
Over one in four (27%) 18-24-year olds said that they were concerned about finding a job going forwards, due to mental health struggles, compared to one-in-five people between the ages of 35 and 54, and just one-in-ten workers aged 55 to 64.
The research report, Out of the woods? says that there is a clear link between ongoing job uncertainty and mental health struggles. It finds that close three-in-ten (29%) young people who were in work before the crisis but are now either currently unemployed, furloughed, or seen their pay decrease, are reporting poor mental health (compared to 13% of workers aged 55-64).
Young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the pandemic – at the end of May 2021, 18-24-year olds were two-and-a-half times more likely to be out of work, whether through furloughing or unemployment, than all other age groups (16% vs 6%).
The findings are very concerning because young people will be starting to forge their careers at a time of severe uncertainty, and the government must take steps to support and protect young people as they enter the labour market.