Younger Generation is Critical for Economic Recovery

New research by Barclays’ LifeSkills shows that business leaders are optimistic about the role of the younger generation for economic recovery. 

Unemployment in the Younger Generation

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted youth employment and workplace opportunities. Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicates that the unemployment level for 16-24 year olds has risen to 13.4%. The younger generation is one of the hardest hit with many entry-level roles, especially in hospitality, leisure, and retail, wiped out by the pandemic.

Business Leaders to Take Action

Barclays is calling business leaders to help employment prospects and career growth opportunities in the younger generation. The LifeSkills programme has been helping young people since 2013, teaching them necessary transferable skills and preparing them for the workplace. So far, the programme has helped more than 11 million young people.

The Role of the Younger Generation

34% of business leaders said that the younger generation will be crucial in helping businesses survive post-pandemic. They credited this to their energy and enthusiasm (51%), aptitude for technology (46%), and creativity (40%). 91% of business leaders said they wanted to learn from the younger generation. Over half were familiar with the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’: swapping insights and perspectives between junior and senior staff members. However, only 9% currently have reverse mentoring in place in their organisations.

18-year-old university student, Gary McPake, has been working alongside Head of LifeSkills, Kirstie Mackey. Both parties have seen the value of reverse mentoring. Gary said “hearing Kirstie take on my ideas, when she is the expert in the conversation, helped me understand the value of my own perspective and problem-solving skills.”

What the Young People Can Learn

Leadership skills (22%) and confidence (10%) were among the top skills the younger generation are seeking to learn. Subsequently, Barclays is keen to encourage businesses to encourage knowledge exchanges between senior and junior staff. Those aged 16-24 said that greater knowledge and experience of their preferred industry would boost their employability prospects (33%). Barclays LifeSkills encourages business leaders to support training for young people and promotes reverse mentoring as a key strategy.