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Why under-25s are ‘giving up’ on their dream jobs

Philip Shepherd

27th October 2020

The pandemic has been tough for everyone, but it’s been reported that the UK’s under-25s have “given up” on acquiring their dream jobs in light of the pandemic.


Research released by the Prince’s Trust has revealed that 44% of 16-to-25-year-olds say that their aspirations for the future are now lower as a result of the pandemic, while 41% believe that their future goals now seem “impossible to achieve”.

Youth unemployment in the UK

The unemployment rate for 16-to-24-year-olds rose to 13.4% this summer, which is more than three times higher than the unemployment rate for the whole of the UK, which sits at 4.1%.


Reduced hours, furlough and even redundancies have caused struggles even for those with reasonably secure employment. However, under-25s, and those aged 17 in particular, were the most likely to be furloughed out of any age group. In comparison, males aged 41-49 and females aged 41-58 were the least likely to be furloughed.


While many members of older generations have been better able to weather the storm due to having more work experience, a greater range of skills and a more stable financial situation, those who are at the start of their careers have come up against a brick wall.

Training and education setbacks

11% of those surveyed by the Prince’s Trust said that the job or training they were about to start has been cancelled as a result of the pandemic. So not only are young people missing out on roles, they’re also unable in many cases to even obtain the training required for their chosen career.


41% of  young people in school, college or university worry that the education they’ve missed as a result of the pandemic will set them back for the rest of their life. This figure rises to 50% for those from poorer backgrounds.


Even those who have been able to complete their education or training are struggling to find work, as many companies have paused recruitment for the foreseeable future.

Settling for less

By May 2020, the number of workers on UK payrolls plummeted by more than 600,000 compared to pre-lockdown figures. In particular, the arts, events, hospitality and travel industries have been hugely affected by the pandemic. With so few jobs available, and so many people vying for them, the job market is more competitive than ever.


For many youths in the UK, this means that their chosen careers will have to be put on the back burner. 35% of those surveyed believed that they would have to give up on their dream jobs and settle for “any job” and 43% expect to never have a job they “really love”.


This is extremely disheartening for young people in the UK, and poses a further threat to the economy with a shortage of skilled workers in the coming years.

Recruitment and hiring advice

If you’re looking to hire new members of staff, or you’re unsure how to handle the recruitment process during the pandemic, get in touch and we’ll be happy to support you however we can.


Philip Shepherd

Philip Shepherd

Founder & CEO

Philip specialises in: Senior, Director and C-Level roles in Digital Marketing

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