Almost half of young people fear that there will be fewer job opportunities in the next three years

  • The ninth Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index (pdf, 741kb) reveals young people’s happiness and confidence are at lowest levels since study was launched
  • The number of young people who don’t feel in control of their lives has increased by more than one third year-on-year
  • One in four working young people feel trapped in a cycle of jobs they don’t want, and while 73% think they are capable of getting a better job, many are held back by low confidence and a lack of opportunities to develop their skills
  • The Prince’s Trust calls on the government and employers to put young people first and give them with the confidence and skills they need to thrive

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index, released today (24th January), reveals that almost half of young people in the UK (44%) fear that the economy will provide fewer job opportunities for their generation in the next three years .

The Youth Index is a national survey that gauges young people’s happiness and confidence across a range of areas from working life to physical health. The latest report demonstrates that young people’s wellbeing, which dropped last year to its lowest level since the Index was first commissioned, has fallen again to a new low this year , and that concerns about their job prospects are playing on their minds.

The ninth Index – based on a survey of 2,194 young people aged 16 to 25 – suggests that the current job market is holding young people back, revealing that one in four working young people feel trapped in a cycle of jobs they don’t want. Many are feeling confined by their circumstances, with almost a third (29%) of working young people having to take whatever jobs they can get rather than focus on developing their career.

While 73% of those working think they are capable of getting a better job, 59% feel they need opportunities to develop their skills before they can think about career options and 54% believe a lack of self-confidence holds them back. Almost a third (29%) of all young people think getting relevant work experience is one of the biggest challenges in pursuing a career.

The Index also shows a mismatch between young people and the jobs they are taking on. Whilst some are having to work more hours than they would like, others are underemployed as they want to work more hours. 41% of young people who are in employment will compromise when it comes to the hours they work, with 15% wanting to take on more hours and 26% working more hours than they would like. More than a quarter (27%) of working young people are working part time (under 35 hours per week), one in ten (10%) are on zero hours contracts and 12% are currently working two or more jobs.

This report highlights a staggering deterioration in young people’s confidence in themselves and in their future. The cliff edge decline in young people not feeling in control of their lives echoes conversations we have every day with young people who speak of their fears about finding work, taking short term jobs over longer term careers and the knock on effect of heightened uncertainty in the economy.This has to be our moment to redouble what we do as a Trust and as a society. It is our fundamental belief that every young person should have the chance to succeed and when they do our country will also succeed.

Nick Stace, UK chief executive at The Prince’s Trust

In response to the issues raised in the report, The Prince’s Trust is refining its eligibility criteria to reflect the evolving needs of the young people it supports, for example those who are underemployed. These changes will enable even more young people to access the charity’s services and with a greater degree of flexibility. Already, provision is for young people who are working or studying up to 35 hours per week and want to improve their employability skills or explore the idea of starting their own business.

Download report (pdf, 741kb)