It is clear that young people have been through a difficult time in 2020-2022. Although we have all experienced difficult years, Covid’s impact upon young people could be a lasting legacy. It’s impossible to reward those who work hard with much if not very hard during the Covid pandemic.
Your twenties should allow you to have fun, make new friends and discover who and what you are. A survey conducted by People Management found that two-thirds of British workers find it difficult to make friends at work while working remotely. Many young people feel lonely, bored, and frustrated by the lack in social and learning opportunities due to Covid restrictions. In many cases, career opportunities have been reduced.
Matt, a London-based graphic designer, was interviewed by me. Libby, a waitress from Sussex, was 20 years old. They both found positive aspects to their Covid experiences. You can also read the ways employers are responsible to care for employees in their twenties.
Work can be a social experience
Libby, aged 20, said that she has made most of her friends through work this past year. “I like my job, although it can be hectic at the restaurant, but I enjoy meeting people and being part of a team that works together. It would be nice if there was more variety, as the job can become repetitive. It was difficult during peak Covid because neither the government nor the company had set any strict rules. I felt exposed due to the sheer volume of people we were serving.
Libby was able to work in a social environment and not at home, which had its advantages. However, she also faced the fear of contracting the virus.
Covid disrupts young people’s career plans
I asked Libby if she felt the pandemic had affected her career goals. “I have made progress in my current job which has been a bonus and allowed me to take on more responsibility. Although it is not my long-term goal to be a manager in hospitality, I am not certain where or what job I would enjoy. I am saving up for a trip to Australia and am hopeful that it will be possible. It will be a refreshing change of scenery. But I have been unable to travel abroad on my own, and also in a completely different country because of the pandemic .
Many young people have lost their confidence due to a lack of social contact. Huma, 25, asked how to integrate back into the world. This video by The Health Foundation explains how the pandemic affected young people in the UK.
A poll of 1,345 young people conducted by the Institute of Employment Studies in 2021 found that 62% of them felt the pandemic had affected their ability to perform at work.
Now is the time to care for young people
Cristiana Orlando is a research fellow at The Institute of Employment Studies. She says that the government, employers and education providers have a responsibility to support young people.
Who’s the other side?
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), is encouraging employers to offer jobs, volunteer, internships, mentoring, and work experience to young people through its ‘One million Chances campaign.
Movement To Work aims to end the vicious cycle of ‘no job, no experience’ that prevents young people from climbing the career ladder. It is a group of employers that empower young people.
The Prince’s Trust, a youth charity, does amazing work to help young people between 11 and 30 get jobs, education, and training.
The Suited For Success program provides interview clothing and helps with interview preparation to unemployed people. It is a local charity in the West Midlands, but you can search for similar charities in your area.
Here are some tips and advice from Posturite for employers:
Your employee satisfaction plan
Guide to workplace happiness
“Working remotely has been a blessing”
Matt, a London-based graphic designer, loves the Covid-initiated work from home. He saves money on travel and is able to concentrate on his work and organize himself better. Matt lives with his parents. He says that working from home allows him to be more relaxed in a familiar setting. It felt more productive to work at home than at the office. This can sometimes be distracting. The hybrid work options allow you to have both office and home work, which I love.
It is great to hear such positivity. Matt states that , a more modern approach to office work, more flexibility, and more trust in colleagues is the only positive thing about the pandemic. We feel more at ease working harder and more efficiently when we have more freedom.