Political upheaval, job worries and low self-confidence have left young people anxious and daunted, suggests a UK-wide survey for The Prince’s Trust.
Over half (58%) of 2,215 16- to 25-year-olds polled said political events had made them fear for their futures, with 41% more anxious than a year ago.
Young people’s self-confidence is at its lowest ebb in the eight years since the research began, says the charity.
Prince’s Trust head Martina Milburn said it was “deeply concerning”.
According to the research, carried out in November by YouGov for the Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index:
- 50% felt it was harder to get a job than a year ago
- 42% felt traditional goals like home ownership or a steady job were unrealistic
- 34% felt they would have a worse standard of living than their parents
- 28% felt out of control of their lives.
Too many of the young people polled are demoralised and pessimistic, says the charity, with 18% believing they would be unable to change their circumstances and 16% saying their lives would amount to nothing, no matter how hard they tried.
The figures also showed the lowest levels of confidence and happiness among young people in the eight years that this research has been carried out:
- 12% said they did not know anyone who really cared about them
- 45% were stressed about body image
- 37% worried about coping at work or school.
Confidence levels were lowest among those who felt out of control, with almost two-thirds of this group blaming lack of self-confidence for holding them back.
Dame Martina, the trust’s chief executive, said the picture was “of a generation who feel their ability to shape their own future is slipping away from them”.
“It’s shocking how many feel so desperate about their situation and it is vital that we support them to develop the confidence and coping skills they need to support in life.
“The single most important thing we can do to empower these young people is to help them into a job, an education course or on to a training programme. Now, more than ever, we must work together to provide the support and opportunities they need to unlock a brighter future.”
The Prince’s Trust says it has recently launched a strategy to embed mental health support into all the employability and personal development programmes for the 60,000 vulnerable young people it helps each year.