How 18-24 year olds are changing their search for work during the pandemic.

by | Jul 30, 2020 | News

One in three 18-24 year-olds want to work for a company that treats it’s staff better in the wake of COVID-19, according to our latest research.

Our research from June 2020 looks at how UK workers have changed their behaviours and motivations around searching for work as a result of coronavirus.

Here’s the key takeaways from research of 250 respondents, aged 18-24:

57% of 18-24s are proactively looking for new job opportunities

The majority (70%) of those surveyed suggested they were currently in full-time employment.

A further 20% were working part-time, and 10% identified themselves as being employed, but currently find themselves on furlough.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in recognition of the challenges young people are set to face, announced a £2bn “kickstart scheme” to create jobs The scheme forms part of an emergency package to prevent mass unemployment.

However, despite the majority of those surveyed still being in work, our study suggests more than half of 18-24 year olds are proactively looking at jobs on the market.

A third of respondents have made an application in the last four months, whilst one in three 18-24s surveyed are ‘somewhat interested’ in new opportunities.

75% of 18-24s have changed their priorities when looking for a new job during the pandemic

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of those we surveyed suggested their priorities have changed when looking for a position post-lockdown.

A recent ONS study lists work and household finances among the main concerns facing young people in response to the coronavirus pandemic

The biggest priority changes according to our research, in order of most selected, were:

  1. I’m looking for a company that treats it’s staff better (34%)
  2. I’m looking for an increased salary after being placed on reduced pay (29%)
  3. I’m looking to work in a new industry where job security is better (24%)

These results suggest any organisation looking to hire and retain staff should use this time to highlight the care given to its employees throughout lockdown – and any plans for the future.

And when it comes to job security, sharing good news stories and signs of recovery could help reinforce confidence in your company during these uncertain times.

63% of 18-24 year-olds worry about redundancy as a result of COVID-19

A surge in job seeking activity has likely come from the majority of 18-24s believing it’s ‘likely’ (35%), ‘extremely likely’ (16%) or ‘certain’ (12%) they’ll be made redundant due to the COVID-19 crisis .

This may be one reason why the number of proactive jobseekers within this demographic seems high – as many are taking pre-emptive action in response to the prospect of unemployment.

To ease these concerns, companies should look to reassure staff with transparent business updates, wherever possible.

Even if there haven’t been any major developments, reaching out more frequently and consistently will only help improve relations within your business.

80% of 18-24s believe the majority of organisations will be hiring again by the end of 2020

There’s optimism that the jobs market can recover with 4 out of 5 respondents believing this to be the case before 2020 ends.16% of those surveyed said they’ve already seen businesses hiring

Optimism may be on the rise, but that doesn’t mean people are remaining passive. Displaying their proactive approach, 38% of respondents have used time in lockdown to take an online course and better themselves professionally, with 34% of respondents being inspired to change careers entirely.

Organisations hiring across the coming months might look to industries where similar skills are required. There will be opportunities to attract young jobseekers inspired to change careers.

46% of 18-24s believe their attitude to working from home has changed for the better

The impact of lockdown has forced companies and their staff to adapt to working from home where possible. This change has bought both positives and challenges to working behaviours.

Here’s the most selected reasons for a positive attitude to working from home:

  1. I have more hours in the day (31%)
  2. I can see my family more (25%)
  3. I am enjoying not doing the journey to and from work (25%)

However, 18-24 year olds also suggest that working from home has it’s drawbacks.In fact, 30% of respondents believe their attitude to WFH has changed for the worse.

Here’s the most selected reasons why:

  1. I miss the social life with colleagues (26%)
  2. There are too many distractions (26%)
  3. There are too many online meetings (21%)

Whatever attitudes are at present, it seems working from home is here to stay. We’d always recommend highlighting the positives of WFH to help attract top talent.

To help retain staff who may be struggling with WFH change, businesses can also look to surface advice and strategies on how to cope with distractions and reduce meetings

Something as simple as making time to socialise with colleagues can really help minimise the effects of isolation – even if it’s over Zoom.

This research was conducted by the recruiter team at, who aim to produce insights that help organisations retain employees and hire the staff they need to help Keep Britain Working.

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