By Pravin Jeyaraj
rThe UK employment rate may be rising, although it has not quite reached pre-pandemic levels, but official figures masks a disturbing reality. According to a study by the Resolution Foundation, young people aged 18-34 whose work was interrupted between February 2020 and summer 2021 ("returners") were more likely to in insecure work, compared to those who were able to continue working during this time.
In a survey of 6,100 adults, it was found that 33% of young returners were in atypical work (temporary contract, zero hours contract, agency work or variable hours contracts), compared to 12% of those who stayed in work during the pandemic.
On top of that, it was also found that 25% of returners were looking for a new job and 9% were looking for an additional job, compared to 19% and 5% of those who could stay in work during the pandemic, suggesting that those who have returned to work are slight less satisfied with their current working conditions.
The pandemic also had an impact on how young people felt about working in their sector. A third of young people working in highly affected sectors, such as hospitality, before the pandemic, had changed sectors between February 2020 and October 2021. Only 14 of those working sectors that were less affected by the pandemic decided to switch. Of those who moved out of a highly-affected sector, 30% moved to a different sector and just 3% moved to highly-affected sector.
It's incredibly worrying that a lot of young people who were unable to work during the pandemic, through no fault of their own, are finding it difficult to find secure work. This will have had an impact on their earnings and could worsen both the cost of living crisis and their ability to plan for the future. It is also clear, from the study, that young people do not want to have insecure work and taking the opportunity to switch to sectors that can offer more secure work.
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