The Prince’s Trust has launched new research today on the impact of the pandemic on young people’s self-esteem and confidence in their future career and skills for work.

  • New research from The Prince’s Trust and Censuswide finds young people from lower income backgrounds and those who have experienced unstable employment during the pandemic are more likely to report poor mental health and lost confidence
  • Over half of young people (52 per cent) agree they’ve “lost confidence in themselves” as a result of the pandemic, rising to 60 per cent among those from lower income backgrounds
  • 44 per cent of young people agree they don't know how they'll get their life “back on track”, rising to 48 per cent among young people who’ve experienced unstable employment, and 50 per cent among those from lower income backgrounds
  • However, 45 per cent agree that the time to retrain and gain new skills has made them feel optimistic about their future

The research, conducted by Censuswide with 2,007 16 to 25-year-olds in the UK, finds that of all young people surveyed, less than a quarter (22 per cent) say they feel confident in their future career, and less than one in five (19 per cent) feel like they have “the confidence to go after the job they want.”

View the full report (pdf, 2mb)

A quarter (24 per cent) of young people worry they do not have the skills for the jobs that are available to them, and 44 per cent agree that over the course of the pandemic, they have even lost confidence in their ability “to do the job they are trained to do.”

The findings suggest that young people whose employment has been unstable, for example they have spent time out of work during the pandemic, are more likely to report poor mental health. More than half of young people (52 per cent) agree they’ve “lost confidence in themselves” as a result of the pandemic, rising to 60 per cent among those from lower income backgrounds, and 55 per cent of those who experienced unstable employment.

Forty-four per cent of young people agree they don't know how they'll get their life “back on track”, rising to 48 per cent among young people who’ve experienced disrupted employment, and 50 per cent among those from lower income backgrounds.

Similarly, more than one in five (21 per cent) say the unstable jobs market makes them fearful of their future, with 60 per cent agreeing that not being able to find a job makes them feel anxious.

Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust says:

"Today’s research shows that without increased support for young people in the UK, the legacy of the pandemic will be a substantial crisis of confidence in our future workforce.

"Young people have faced significant disruption to their employment and education, at a time when our economy and jobs market is in flux.

As we look forward into 2022, there is still a huge amount to do to restore young people’s confidence and rebuild the skills they need for the jobs available now, and the jobs of the future.

"Every day at The Prince’s Trust, we meet talented young people looking for opportunities to work and train. It is in all of our interests to support the younger generation into sustainable jobs, to help rebuild our economy."

Chris Holland, 24, from Oldham, found work as a Biomedical Support Worker at the Royal Oldham Hospital with the help of The Prince’s Trust. He says:

"It was hard to find work in the pandemic. I briefly worked in retail over Christmas, but that was all.

Confidence isn’t something you always have, it’s something you can gain and lose.

"Training and getting my job at the hospital has helped me come out of my shell and feel more positive about my future. If you’re struggling to find work, don’t be afraid to change direction. All it takes is finding the right opportunity and dedicating yourself to getting the job that’s right for you."

Despite the uncertainty felt among young people about their future careers, the report finds 45 per cent agree that the time to retrain and gain new skills has made them feel optimistic about their future. In addition, 56 per cent agree that as a result of the pandemic they are more grateful now for the life they have.

Download the full report (pdf, 2mb)