Young people’s hopes and goals for the future have been dampened by COVID-19 with almost half (44 per cent) expressing lower aspirations for the future as a result of the global pandemic. 

As previously reported by HRreview, unemployment rates hit an all-time high due to the effects of the global pandemic which is predicted to worsen after the end of the furlough scheme. People aged between 16-25 have been most impacted with ONS statistics revealing that 13.4 per cent of young people are unemployed – a stark contrast to the national average of 4.1 per cent unemployment.

New research by the Prince’s Trust, a charity supporting youths, shows that this has taken a considerable toll on young people’s views for the future with over four in 10 (41 per cent) believing their goals seem “impossible to achieve” as a result of COVID-19.

Over four in 10 (43 per cent) also predict that they will “never have a job [they] really love”. A similar number (45 per cent) state that in order to “made ends meet”, they will have to take a lower paid job. Just above a quarter (28 per cent) believe they will have to “take any job they can get”.

These numbers rise significantly when considering young people from a lower socio-economic background. Over half (55 per cent) state that they “will never have a job [they] really love” whilst half (50 per cent) believe their goals are now “impossible to achieve”.

Sian Duffin, support student manager at Arden University, advises young people who are unemployed:

Make the most of the opportunities in front of you to upskill. Start by networking in the area that you want to work in, and find out what skills employers in that area value most. Then, work to improve these.

Look for additional qualifications that you can do; these can be anything from a short CPD course, to starting a degree or master’s programme. Read everything you can find on skills and current developments, to make yourself relevant, up-to-date and ready for interview.

See this as a job, set aside the hours you would if you were working and plan out what you will achieve each day and work towards these. Spend time reflecting on what is going well and what you need to continue to improve.

Jonathan Townsend, the chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, agreed with this sentiment:

We must support [young people] to upskill, retrain and access job opportunities, or else we risk losing their ambition and potential to long-term unemployment – to the detriment of their future and to the recovery of our economy.


*The Prince’s Trust surveyed 2,000 people aged 16 to 25 across the UK to obtain these results.





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.