YOUNG people need to be supported in what could be “the hardest job hunt of their lives” employment experts have warned.
At least one million jobs could be axed within months because of Coronavirus. Youngsters are expected to bear the brunt.
The poverty charity Turn2us fears mass unemployment among young people could cause homelessness, hunger and debt to spiral.
Varun Kanish, its campaign manager, said: “Young people have been some of the worst affected by this pandemic. Without immediate intervention, this COVID generation faces the stark prospect of starting adult life in chronic unemployment – which increases the risk of homelessness, hunger, and spiralling debt.
“This is why it’s critical that the Government support young people into work and help businesses to create meaningful jobs with wages that enable everyone to have a decent living standard.”
The Prince of Wales has also acknowledged the impact the pandemic on youngsters, saying it is a “particularly difficult time to be young”.
In a rare article, Charles suggested there could be one million young people “needing urgent help”. He added the challenges of helping those in need was “unquestionably vast, but it is not insurmountable”.
Susie Roberts, 21, recently graduated from Kingston University in London and spent months looking for a job. She was forced to return home when her applications went unanswered by potential employers.
The media graduate said: “I had to move home with my parents in Devon as I wouldn’t have been able to afford to stay in London, and there I looked for jobs for weeks and weeks – anything would have been fine but there weren’t even any supermarket jobs listed.”
Those with jobs were not safe either as official statistics on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in July showed under-25’s were more likely to be furloughed than any other age group.
In the first three months of lockdown, half of eligible 16 to 24-year olds were placed on the scheme, compared with one in four 45-year-olds. Under 25s also make up a third on new universal claims.
“Right now, we have a very anxious generation who feel they’ve fallen off the career ladder as soon as they began to climb it. Some were still waiting for their break. Our economy will be much stronger if we have a workforce engaged in fulfilling roles, and this responsibility falls on all employers and business leaders to attract young talent and treat them well."
Meanwhile, a study by Samsung shows only one in 10 young people feel confident about the economy and their own job prospects.
Andrew Fennell, at CV-writing company StandOut CV, added: “Family and friends need to ensure the young people in their lives are supported in what could possibly be the hardest job hunt of their lives.
“The vast reduction in jobs available across the board means that job hunting will be far more challenging and will require a lot more work, time, and applications sent than usual.
“If more young people are in jobs, local economies will benefit, and employers can begin training the next managers and directors.”