Young jobseekers do not disclose mental health issues at interview stage

Almost three-quarters of young job seekers believe speaking to their prospective employer about mental health issues they may endure would damage their chances of getting the job.

This is according to City Mental Health Alliance (CHMA), an alliance of businesses that promote the message that every company should support their staff’s mental health.  They found that 72 per cent of young job seekers think that talking to an interviewer regarding their mental health issues would hurt their chances of being offered the job.

Also, 76 per cent of young job seekers have experienced poor mental health, such as anxiety (53 per cent), depression (40 per cent), panic attacks (28 per cent), and even suicidal thoughts (21 per cent).

It was also found that 91 per cent of young candidates are more likely to apply to an employer that has shown they support employees’ mental health. However, 68 per cent said they are not aware of any mental health support issued by employers they are applying to.

Just under a third (32 per cent) of young jobseekers do not feel comfortable asking for adjustments to be made to the recruitment process on mental health grounds.

Younger job seekers are also more sensitive as 71 per cent said they react to small mistakes made with a lot of self-criticisms and 48 per cent they avoid taking risks in case they make a mistake.

Poppy Jaman, CEO of the CMHA said:

More businesses recognise that they have an opportunity and a responsibility to support the mental health of young people as they make demanding transition from education into the workplace. And, after a tumultuous year for young people who are thinking about applying or starting their first job, this is more important than ever. Supporting candidates from recruitment stage is not just the right thing to do, it is the business-critical thing to do because it is clear that young people are looking for employers who will prioritise their wellbeing. The recruitment and induction process is an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate that commitment. The CMHA is proud to launch standards and a supporting guide to help organisations design recruitment and induction processes that support the positive mental health of candidates during this demanding time.

This issue is made worse by the current COVID-19 situation as it has been predicted that by the end of this year there will be over a million young people (18-24) unemployed due to the pandemic. This warning comes from the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), as it believes that an extra 620,000 young people will be out of work by the end of 2020, with 410,000 young people already being out of work. When these two figures are added together it comes to over a million. 

CMHA spoke to 500 young jobseekers to obtain these results.