Younger generations are critical to economic recovery from Covid-19, say business leaders
- Just over a third of business leaders said they believe the younger generation will be key in helping businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic
- They believe the younger generations will bring energy and enthusiasm, aptitude for technology, and creativity
- Barclays LifeSkills encourages business leaders to boost opportunities and training for young people, with reverse mentoring being one of the key ways businesses can benefit from fresh ideas
New research released today by LifeSkills created by Barclays highlights that the younger generation has a critical role to play in the UK’s recovery from Covid-19.
The coronavirus has had significant impacts on youth unemployment and opportunities in the workplace. Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released earlier this month indicates that the unemployment level among those aged 16-24 has risen to 13.4 per cent1. Young people are one of the hardest hit generations, with a number of entry-level roles in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors impacted by the pandemic.
The high street bank is calling upon business leaders to bridge the gap and take action now to have a positive impact on employment prospects and career growth opportunities for young people. Since 2013, the LifeSkills programme has been supporting young people to gain the core, transferable skills needed to succeed in the workplace, with more than 11 million having participated to date.
In the research carried out by Barclays, just over a third (34 per cent) of business leaders noted the significant role that the younger generation in particular will play in helping businesses survive and thrive in a post-Covid-19 world. The most common reasons why they believe this are their energy and enthusiasm (51 per cent), aptitude for technology (46 per cent), and creativity (40 per cent).
When asked, just over nine in ten (91 per cent) business leaders said they would be interested in learning from the younger generation or those entering the world of work. Over half (54 per cent)* had heard of the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’, when junior staff are paired with those more experienced to swap insights and add perspective on tackling business challenges. However, fewer than one in ten (9 per cent) of business leaders say that reverse mentoring is already in place in their organisation. The bank is keen to encourage more businesses to follow suit, as young people aged 16-24 said they believed that greater knowledge and experience of the industry they want to work in would boost their employability prospects (33%).
And in a survey of general consumers**, young people aged 16 to 24 said that leadership skills (22%) and confidence (19%) are among the top skills they think they can learn the most from senior business leaders.
Gary McPake, an 18-year-old University of Glasgow student and member of the LifeSkills Advisory Council, recently mentored Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills. Speaking about his experience as a mentor, he 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. I’ve always been told that the future of work will look different, and coronavirus has clearly intensified this, but I feel more confident in my own skills and value after being a reverse mentor, and learned a lot about the importance of communication.”
Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays, added: “Being mentored by Gary has been a fantastic and insightful experience. At 18, Gary approached the problems I brought him in a new way, and his openness and creativity opened my eyes to different ways of exploring ideas.
“I encourage any business leader who wants to truly understand what skills there are within their team to explore if reverse mentoring could work for their business. We must be mindful of the challenges that young people are facing and listen to what they say they need. Training and skills development must continue to be a focus within the workplace to help young people and new starters realise their goals.”
To find out more about LifeSkills visit: www.barclayslifeskills.com
Notes to Editors
1. Source: ONS unemployment data, as published on 13 October 2020 [https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/timeseries/mgwy/lms].
The survey was conducted by Censuswide between 14.08.2020 – 02.09.2020. The sample of the survey consisted of 552 business leaders/senior decision makers. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
*Statistic combines the following answer options; ‘Yes - I have heard of it, and it is in place in my workplace’, ‘Yes - I have heard of it, and would consider introducing it in my workplace’, ‘Yes - I have heard of it; it is not in my workplace and I wouldn't consider putting it in place’ and ‘Yes - I have heard of it, it is not in my workplace and I am not sure if I would consider putting it in place’
**The survey was conducted by Censuswide between 07.08.2020 - 10.08.2020. The sample of the survey consisted of 2,022 general consumers. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
Biographies of mentors
Kirstie Mackey OBE created and launched the LifeSkills programme in 2013. She is Head of LifeSkills and is passionate about supporting young people through skills training and development. An experienced mentor, she found the experience of being a mentee fascinating.
Further comment: “Gary’s perspective on specific business challenges, and how to best engage younger team members in meetings and conversations has already helped us work better. Business leaders make a lot of assumptions about young people, if someone appears or sounds confident it is easy to believe they have everything they need to succeed.”
Gary McPake, 18, is in his first year at the University of Glasgow studying Maths and Physics. He discovered LifeSkills at a school fair and has found the money management and CV skills training particularly helpful. As Kirstie’s mentor Gary shared his perspective on business challenges and recognise the importance of communication and problem-solving skills in business.
About LifeSkills created with Barclays
LifeSkills is giving millions of people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed in work, whether that’s a young person preparing for their first job, to someone wanting to progress in their career, make changes to their working life or even start their own business.
Building on the extensive knowledge and experience gained in running LifeSkills since 2013 with young people, the programme was extended to the whole of the UK workforce and across all ages. Aligned with current employment trends such as under-employment and an aging workforce and areas where individuals want to change their working lives, such as career progression, introducing more flexibility and wellbeing or starting a business. As well as helping people to gain the core, transferable skills needed now and in the future. More than 11 million people have now participated in the programme since launch.
LifeSkills is delivered by:
• A website where people can access free interactive online tools and resources tailored to their stage in life.
• Providing lesson plans, learning modules and interactive content for educators to use directly with both young people whilst in education and organisations such as charities, housing associations and local authorises to use with adult learners.
• Working with charity delivery partners ensures we are also reaching those people in society who need the most support.
For more information visit www.barclayslifeskills.com