A new series of reports that focuses on the effects of Coronavirus on employment in Wales, has been published today (27.05.2021) by Public Health Wales.
Young people, and those in precarious work have been identified as being especially vulnerable to employment changes caused by the pandemic, with mental wellbeing and struggles to find or keep work cited as major concerns.
Many young people are unaware of the support that is already available and how to access it, suggesting a greater need for organisations to engage with young people on a deeper level, in order to find solutions to the barriers they face for gaining good, fair employment –critical for people’s good health and wellbeing.
Key findings across the reports were:
Dr Benjamin Gray, Public Health Researcher at Public Health Wales, said: “18-29 year olds are the age group with the highest proportion placed on furlough (41%) and 2.5 times more likely to have been placed on furlough than the 40-49 years age group and as such risk an uncertain future. Furlough could potentially mask a longer term impact of Covid-19 on unemployment, and this is a concern, especially amongst this age group.”
Dr Ciarán Humphreys, Consultant in Public Health with the Wider Determinants of Health Unit at Public Health Wales, said: “Young people have told us they have been hit by a multitude of factors that will potentially have long lasting effects on their employment prospects.
“It’s not just about being in work though. It is the nature, quality and long term prospects of that work – good, fair work, that’s so important for people’s health. We saw this impact play out in the study. Some working young people we heard from struggled with the impacts of work changes outside their control on their mental wellbeing, whereas most of those in stable employment generally felt well, supported by their employer, and fairly confident about the future.
“We know that at UK, Wales and local levels there have been important actions taken to mitigate the impact of these employment changes. However, some of these are expected to come to an end.
“A clear message from our work is that it will take a range of approaches to support young people responding to the employment challenges of the pandemic, in order to improve health. Action can be taken at national, regional and local level. Employers, too, have an important role in helping young people into good quality work, and that includes public sector organisations. If we are to safeguard future health we will need to work collaboratively and effectively, involving young people.”
The reports published today are the first in a series of planned employment analysis by the Public Health Wales Population Health programme exploring the impact of Coronavirus on the Welsh labour market and will help inform policy and decision makers. Further phases of research will look at how challenges could be addressed as the economy reopens and recovers, so that those most at risk of longer-term harm from the crisis can secure decent quality future employment, training, and education.
Published in this first series are: