Could your child become one of the Leftbehinders?

Job losses, career stagnation, hardships of working from home: whatever the side effect of the pandemic we are examining, young people have disproportionately borne the economic brunt.

Youth unemployment has hit a five-year high, according to figures released this week by the Bureau of National Statistics, with those under 35 accounting for 80 percent of the 811,000 jobs lost from the year to March. More than 200,000 young people under 25 have been out of work for more than six months.

“Young people are two and a half times more likely to work in the sectors hardest hit by Covid: food and beverage and hospitality, leisure and tourism and retail,” says Laura-Jane Rawlings, Managing Director of Youth Employment. “Their education has been affected. They had to change their plans and their aspirations because of it.

The result is a generation that has little confidence in their career and their future – let’s call them the Leftbehinders – and that could have an effect for generations to come. “It’s bad for society,” Rawlings says. “Their mental and anxiety levels are skyrocketing because the future is uncertain.”

Australia’s economy has proven to be resilient in the face of the ravages of the coronavirus: If the country is to serve as a benchmark for what we might see in the UK in the coming months, Rawlings says putting young people first will be key to good deals.

To minimize the long-term economic impact, the government needs to invest in internships and apprenticeships, she said, otherwise “there will be a mismatch in the hiring system with employers looking for people with good skills. experience”. For those who have not been able to train or get entry-level employment due to the health crisis, attempting to do so once things reopen will likely lead to ‘widening the disadvantage gaps’ where they are. are not considered qualified to assume available roles.

Companies also have a responsibility to make the workplace a place where young staff can thrive. Younger employees found working from home much more difficult than their older counterparts, according to a study shared exclusively with The telegraph, which found that 74% of 18- to 34-year-olds believe that working remotely has hindered their personal development. In a survey of 1,000 employees at Beamery, a talent transformation company, 58% said the lack of facetime had prevented them from getting promotions.

“The pandemic has trampled the hopes and dreams of so many young people,” says Caroline Whaley, co-founder of Shine, an inclusion consultancy. “There is a double fear among young people: will I really have a job? And, if I have a job, is there any hope to learn and grow? “

She adds that “these young professionals and potential future leaders deserve our attention” and that companies must prioritize “building their confidence and getting their ambitions back on track”.

Part of the problem is that young workers need the support of an office environment – and colleagues from whom they can watch and learn – more than their experienced peers. Almost half of young workers polled by Beamery said they felt isolated or undervalued when working remotely.

This may partly explain why 64% of 18- to 34-year-olds said they wanted at least office time in an Opinium poll for the Prospect union, compared to less than half of those over 35.

Workplace experts are already starting to discuss the issues of “hybrid offices,” where employees have the flexibility to decide whether they want to work from the office or from home.

Martyn Sakol, managing partner of corporate psychology firm OE Cam, says the latter “could lead to greater inequality, with people working from home having less influence, fewer opportunities and therefore prospects for success. reduced or slower promotion ”.

Train journeys more than doubled last week, according to, while WorkPad, an office space provider, says it has received a record number of inquiries for its properties in London from small businesses. companies looking for a permanent base and large companies looking to downsize. . How can less experienced workers make sure they are part of reopening the country, rather than being on the sidelines? “Sometimes we’re really mean to kids,” Rawlings thinks. “But young people don’t create their situation. Society needs to be kinder to them.

“ I am desperate to meet my new colleagues face to face ”

Anna Murphy, 33, content marketing consultant

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