Young people are abandoning their dreams and ambitions due to the cost of living crisis and mental health problems, according to a new study.
Hoping for an enjoyable career that gives them financial security seems unimaginable and too risky, with young people saying they are only able to plan in the short term: half of those surveyed said they were not able to think beyond the next six months.
Two thirds of 18-24 year olds surveyed in the study have lowered their job expectations, with the cost of living, the state of the UK economy and their own mental health cited as the main factors .
“This research provides a stark warning that the cost of living crisis threatens the future, aspirations and well-being of an entire generation if we do not act now,” said Jonathan Townsend, UK chief executive of the Prince’s Trust.
The study, based on interviews with 2,500 young people, was carried out on behalf of the Prince’s Trust in collaboration with the LadBible group, with a panel of young consumers made up of more than 55,000 members of generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, and millennials, born between 1981 and 1996.
“Young people have already seen an integral part of their lives disrupted by the pandemic, from their education to their early careers, and these findings show that ongoing economic uncertainty is forcing them to make decisions that will only make the situation worse,” Townsend added. .
“We are seeing young people feeling worried and insecure about achieving their aspirations and only thinking in the short term – this could have a significant impact on their future and society as a whole. »
Lack of self-confidence has been cited as one of the main problems young people face in achieving their ambitions, alongside a lack of opportunities and experience. Working part-time, running their own business, and working remotely were low on their priorities for landing a dream job.
The nationwide study reveals that 73% of respondents are worried about their future due to the cost of living crisis. More than two-thirds thought they would never be financially secure.
The report also reveals that the cost of living crisis has forced more than a quarter of young people surveyed to either drop out of school or start considering leaving. At least 44% of people living at home said they couldn’t move because they were needed to help their family pay household bills.
When asked about their long-term life goals, maintaining good physical and mental health and simply living happily were among the top responses.
These findings echo previous research from the Prince’s Trust, which found young people’s wellbeing was at its lowest level for 15 years. This study found that almost half of young people felt hopeless about the future. This is the lowest result in all the years the trust has run its NatWest Youth Index, including when it was launched during the global financial crisis.
In the new study, almost two-thirds of young people said they should prioritize any job over their dream job. At least 40% of them have changed their career plans in the past year. Nearly 60% say they have lowered their long-term aspirations over the past two years.
Vicki Nash, associate director of policy, campaigns and public affairs at mental health charity Mind, said: “When the country is struggling with widespread economic hardship, this can really affect the mental health of young people, jobs being harder to find. and we worry that our financial security is an everyday occurrence.
“The Mind’s own poll carried out earlier this year showed that the mental health of 59% of people aged 16 to 24 in England and Wales had been affected by the state of the UK economy, demonstrating how “how widespread these concerns are.”
Emily Driscoll, head of data, intelligence and planning at LadBible Group, said: “This research offers an in-depth look at how young people are planning their careers and the impact of the cost of living crisis. only on the present moment, but also on the way young people plan their careers. on the future and aspirations of young people.