The impacts of COVID-19 on the state of employment for younger people

Date : 31 January 2022

The Resolution Foundation has released a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state of employment for younger people.

Overall, younger people’s employment has been less impacted by the pandemic than predicted. This was primarily due to the protection afforded by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Since the lockdown eased in April 2021, younger people have re-entered the workforce rapidly.

However, there have been impacts in specific areas of the job market:

Firstly, and unsurprisingly, those in highly affected sectors such as hospitality were the most impacted group. 49% of those employed in these sectors experienced three months or more of worklessness between March 2020 and October 2021.

Secondly, the chart below shows that 30% of younger people who were employed in highly affected sectors, have moved out of these sectors. This may be a significant reason why certain industries such as foodservice are struggling to find adequate numbers of staff.

Click chart to enlarge

Thirdly, the number of younger people engaged in full-time education is up 119,000, compared to pre-pandemic levels. There has also been an increase of 75,000 in the number of economically inactive 18-24-year-olds outside of full-time education. These figures illustrate an increase of nearly 200,000 young people outside of the labour market at a time when vacancies have hit record levels.

Finally, whilst it is positive that the majority of younger people have found their way back into work, it should be noted that 33% of ‘returners’ are likely to be in more insecure forms of employment.

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