A new survey finds that over two-fifths of young people are postponing their career or education plans until the pandemic is over, further highlighting how this period has adversely affected this age group.

New research commissioned by BAE systems, a provider of defence, aerospace and security solutions, has revealed the impact of the pandemic on young people and their careers – with over 40 per cent stating they are planning to put their career or educational plans on hold until the pandemic has passed.

It is evident that the coronavirus has negatively impacted this group with over a fifth (21 per cent) stating that they are now even more confused about their career path.

A further fifth of respondents (20 per cent) aged between 16-24 revealed that the industry they wished to work in has been deeply impacted by COVID-19.

When questioned about their top motivations when it comes to a job role, a main priority for young people was continuous learning and the ability to continue to develop their skill-set (31 per cent). The way that HR can deliver this needs to be considered, especially when training and learning is no longer occurring in a central office and rather, is happening from home.

The top motivating factor for young people was a good salary with two-fifths of respondents (41 per cent) saying this was important to them.

However, this group also identified jobs that provide stability and routine (30 per cent) and a career that is future-proofed (25 per cent) as important to them, displaying their acute awareness about the future of machine learning and artificial intelligence and how this will contribute to the automation of many jobs.

Most young people that were surveyed highlighted soft skills as most important to support their future long-term career plans. Over a third (35 per cent) stated having effective communication skills is important whilst over three in 10 felt that problem solving (31 per cent) and the ability to work in a team were important (30 per cent).

In light of National Apprenticeship Week, almost two thirds (63 per cent) said they have or would consider an apprenticeship, of which, four in ten (41 per cent) cited gaining experience in the working world as a key driver.

Richard Hamer, Education and Skills Director at BAE Systems, said:

It’s clear that currently, the path for young people looking to enter the job market is extremely tough. The ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic are far reaching and have left students with greater uncertainty about their future. That’s why it’s important that those of us who can, must continue to create new opportunities for young people, working hand in hand with the Government and wider industry, to make available options known to young people.

Apprenticeships play a significant role, providing people with the necessary skills to work in highly specialised and technical industries. Through on-the-job learning of practical skills, the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals and the provision of support at every step of their training, apprenticeships can offer an entry into a long-term and successful career.

Ben Marson, Director of Partnerships at Prince’s Trust, said:

The pandemic continues to negatively affect young people’s employment prospects. At The Prince’s Trust, we know from our own research the impact unemployment can have on young people’s mental health and overall future. Our recent Youth Index report found that 60 per cent of young people say that getting a new job feels “impossible now” because there is so much competition and 23 per cent saying they don’t feel confident about their future work.


*Research was conducted with Censuswide, on behalf of BAE systems, and surveyed 2,007 individuals in the UK aged between 16-24.