Almost three-quarters of young people feel that their career progression will be harmed due to a lack of face-to-face networking.

According to new research by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, around three-quarters (72 per cent) of young people believe that not being able to physically network with colleagues would damage their long-term careers.

Furthermore, just over two-thirds (68 per cent) believed that a lack of face-to-face training would negatively impact their careers whilst 66 per cent cited tighter training budgets as an obstacle that would significantly affect their career progression.

Interestingly, only half (50 per cent) of those surveyed stated that they were concerned by the size of the job market. Around three in 10 were worried (31 per cent) by acceleration of digitalisation whilst 40 per cent were worried that working from home more often would negatively impact their career progression.

Linked to this, a separate survey by Lane4, a management consultancy, also reported that young people were suffering from a lack of motivation whilst working from home.

This research reveals that almost half (44 per cent) of employees under the age of 35 cite that lack of motivation whilst working from home has hindered their work performance. The performance of young people was twice as likely to be impacted by a lack of motivation than other ages including 45-54 year olds (which only stood at 22 per cent).

Similarly, a lack of connections to colleagues within their team affected the work performance of just over a quarter of employees (26 per cent) aged under 35.

Adrian Moorhouse, Managing Director at Lane4, said:

It’s crucial that these findings are not misconstrued as the latest ‘evidence’ in support of the long standing – and deeply flawed –‘lazy millennial’ stereotype. The pandemic has impacted us all, but an increasing number of studies show that younger workers have been some of the hardest hit when it comes to furlough and lockdown loneliness, both of which affect motivation.

It’s understandable that in the early days of the pandemic a lot of organisational focus went towards keeping the lights on and implementing technologies to enable people to work remotely. But attention now needs to turn towards the behaviours that are crucial to enabling people to perform their best in the new world of work. The good news is that motivation and connection can be enhanced. We know that one of the most effective ways to do this is through managers. Because they speak to their team consistently, managers are in a unique position to understand and enhance the different factors impacting the performance of their individual team members.

But as there’s no guidebook on how to deal with the changes brought about by COVID-19, managers need help understanding how motivation impacts their teams in different ways and how they can support them in the context of hybrid working. In an environment where change seems to be the only constant, it’s crucial that organisations provide managers with the support they need to drive their team’s performance.

Roland Siegers, Executive Director of CEMS, said:

While graduates recognise that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated a pre-existing trend toward automation, digitisation and flexible working, they are concerned about the impact decreasing face-to-face interactions and opportunities for ‘in-person’ development will have on their careers.

These young professionals recognise that social interaction and collaboration is not only a fundamental human need, but also a valuable source of innovation, productivity and growth during times of crisis.


*CEMS surveyed 310 master’s students to obtain these results.

** The data from Lane4 was collected by YouGov in September 2020 and surveyed 1324 UK employees.






Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.