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Young people turning down jobs because of upfront cost


Young people turning down jobs because of upfront cost

Affordability is preventing some young people from accepting a job they have been offered or obtaining the qualifications they need for the job they want to do.

A survey of more than 2,000 16 to 25-year-olds for The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2024 found that the cost of living is making many young people feel anxious and helpless about their future, which is affecting their mental health and career ambitions.

Five per cent of young people have turned down a job because they cannot afford the upfront costs needed to start work, such as transport, uniforms or rent. This rises to 10% among those who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) and to 9% for those from a poorer socio-economic background.

One in four (24%) said they cannot afford to study towards the qualification they need for the job they want, rising to 34% among those from a poorer background and to 33% among NEETs.

Eighteen per cent plan to finish their education early so they can start earning money.

The report also finds a growing mental health crisis among those aged 16-25. One in five said their mental health has worsened in the past year, and 40% report experiencing a mental health problem.

Although nearly two-thirds (62%) recognised that having a job is good for their mental health, the report’s findings suggest that struggles with their mental wellbeing can often be a barrier to moving into work, education or training.

Poor mental health has led 21% to miss school or work in the past 12 months, 18% said it has stopped them from applying for a job, and 12% said their mental health has stopped them from attending an interview.

Thirty-five per cent were worried that their mental health would stop them from achieving their career ambitions, while 41% said worrying about reaching these goals has made their mental health worse.

Jonathan Townsend, UK chief executive of The Prince’s Trust said the Youth Index 2024 shows that mental health worries are “leading to a vicious cycle where poor mental health is having a negative impact on young people’s work, yet being unemployed has a negative impact on their wellbeing”.

“We must work together to address this trap, where poor mental health and employment struggles exacerbate each other, or risk it closing in on a generation. Urgent support is needed from partners, governments and employers, to help young people break this cycle,” he said.

Asked what would help them achieve their career aspirations, 32% wanted help with securing work experience or training, 28% needed to build work-specific skills, 28% wanted help with CV writing and interview skills, and 23% said they could benefit from a mentor.

The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2024 also found that:

  • 26% of young people worry about being picked on for their faith sexual identity or cultural background
  • 10% struggle to go to school or work after receiving negative comments on social media
  • 50% of young women are worried about earning enough to support a family, compared with 44% of young men
  • Young women were more likely than their male peers to say that a lack of confidence was holding them back from achieving their career goals.

Sandi Royden, head of youth and families at NatWest, said: “These findings show that we should not underestimate the impact the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis have had on the daily lives of our young people, their financial confidence and their future aspirations. They also highlight the resilience of the next generation with so many feeling determined to achieve their goals in the face of these challenges.

“Through our partnership with the Prince’s Trust, we are able to better understand the needs of young people and take the right action through initiatives like NatWest Thrive, to help them to improve both their financial wellbeing and future confidence, to better equip them to achieve their goals.”

Original Article: Personneltoday

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