COVID-19: Latest research

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, Movement to Work has been keeping a close eye on research that has so far been released, showing both the effect on young people and their livelihoods, as well as the academic recommendations for how we should emerge from national lockdown.

We are keen to hear from our network regarding how they think and feel in response to the research that is emerging, or indeed if any organisations are compiling data that they would be willing to share with us.

Please contact if you have any more information or any questions.

Please note: The views expressed in these articles are not representative of Movement to Work’s formal position or recommendations in response to the crisis. Movement to Work is sharing this research to raise awareness and generate informed debate.


Only a minimum income can ensure support for everyone

  • The New Economics Foundation, 11 May 2020

Summary: This report examines those who are at greatest risk of missing out on the government’s financial support packages. The analysis found that 1.6 million people were at very high risk of both losing work and missing out on the government’s schemes. Young people (16 – 24 years old) were the most likely (2.3 times as likely as other age groups (130% higher risk) to be in this high risk group.

Read more HERE


COVID-19: The impact of the crisis on student recruitment and development

  • The Institute of Student Employers, May 2020

Summary: This report (registration required) warns that the number of entry-level jobs available to students and school-leavers seeking employment this year will be reduced by around 23 percent. The report warns that internships and placements will slump by 40 percent and even students and school-leavers with job offers could see their opportunities curtailed.

Read more HERE


Class of 2020- Education leavers in the current crisis

  • Resolution Foundation, May 2020

Summary: This report focuses on the prospects facing young people leaving full-time education today, highlighting the size and length of employment and pay scarring that they could experience.

The Resolution Foundation estimates that, even three years after having left full-time education, the employment rate of today’s graduates could be 13 per cent lower than without the crisis. Employment rates for mid-and low-skilled workers could fall even further: 27 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

Read more HERE

Assessing the early impact of school and college closures on students in England

  • The Centre for Education and Youth and The University of Exeter, June 2020. 


This report explores the experiences of young people following the closure of schools in England on 20th March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It forms part of a wider programme of rapid response research into the impact of school closure on young people, parents, teachers and outreach professionals, conducted by the Centre for Social Mobility at the University of Exeter and the Centre for Education and Youth.

Key Findings:

  • Access to tech is proving to be a barrier to some students’ learning. Most of the students we surveyed have access to at least a mobile phone and a laptop in their household, but some students flagged that they had to share these devices with other household members 
  • A fifth of the students we surveyed, and 30% of disadvantaged students, do not have access to a quiet study space in their homes 
  • Most students reported no change to their family dynamic as a result of school closure. However, where students did report a change this tended to be negative 
  • On average, students’ self-reported well being was significantly below normal levels in the population as a whole, taken outside the period of school closure
  • Students are overwhelmingly concerned with their grades, with many telling us they now feel less control over their own destinies 
  • Most students were happy with the support they were receiving from their school or college. When we asked students how support could be improved, the most common request was for more or better communication

Read more HERE


Latest data released for Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) 

  • Office for National Statistics, UK. May 2020.


There were an estimated 771,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in January to March 2020; this was an increase of 6,000 compared with January to March 2019 and was up by 8,000 compared with October to December 2019.

The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET in January to March 2020 was estimated at 11.2%; the proportion was up by 0.2 percentage points compared with January to March 2019 and up by 0.1 percentage points compared with October to December 2019.

Of all young people in the UK who were NEET in January to March 2020, an estimated 41.6% were looking and available for work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and were classified as economically inactive.

Read more HERE


Coronavirus: Young people ‘most likely to lose work’ in lockdown

  • BBC News, May 2020.

Summary: Young people are most likely to have lost work or seen their income drop because of COVID-19, a report suggests. More than one in three 18 to 24-year-olds is earning less than before the outbreak, research by the Resolution Foundation claims. It said younger workers risk their pay being affected for years, while older staff may end up involuntarily retired.

Around a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds have been furloughed – meaning they do not work but their firms keep them on their books and the government covers 80% of their wages. A further 9% have lost their jobs altogether – the highest figure out of all age groups.

Industries that traditionally employ younger staff such as pubs, restaurants and leisure centres have remained shut throughout the UK’s eight-week lockdown, as have many shops.

Read more HERE


Young workers in the coronavirus crisis: Findings from the Resolution Foundation’s coronavirus survey 

  • Resolution Foundation, May 2020

Summary: A report published by the Resolution Foundation suggests that the coronavirus crisis is expected to hit workers hard, with evidence from previous crises indicating that the young are likely to be affected to a greater degree than most. The report presents new findings on how different age groups – and in particular the young – have been affected.

Read more HERE


Young People in Lockdown

  • The Prince’s Trust and YouGov, May 2020.

Summary: The Prince’s Trust and YouGov have released the Young People in Lockdown report, with research conducted during lockdown revealing 46% of 16-25 years olds say that finding a job now feels “impossible”, and more than a quarter feel their future career prospects have already been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic. To compliment the annual Prince’s Trust Youth Index, tracking the views and outlooks of young people across the last decade, YouGov and The Trust have gathered the views of 16 to 25 year olds living through lockdown to form a picture of how this crisis is impacting the younger generation.

Key findings:

With nearly half of young people worrying it will be harder than ever to find a job, and 43% reporting that their anxiety levels have increased due to the pandemic, it is a vital time to support young people. Those who are not in education, employment or training are also already impacted more than their peers – with 65% of NEET young people not feeling in control of their lives, compared to 47% of their non-NEET peers.

Read more HERE


Young, vulnerable, and increasing- why we need to start worrying more about youth unemployment

  • The Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus. April, 2020.

Summary: The Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus have worked in partnership on a new analysis of the population of young people who are neither earning nor learning – looking at both the current drivers of, and future trends associated with, being in this group. It lays out why we urgently need to improve our offer to those young people who are at most risk of being, or have already been, locked out of education, employment and training. This need has become even more urgent given the COVID-19 pandemic and its expected impact on young people and the wider economy. 

Read more HERE


Coronavirus Vulnerable Young People: COVID-10 Response

  • National Youth Agency, April 2020.

A report from the National Youth Agency identifies the top three concerns for vulnerable young people during COVID-19:

  1. ‘Increased mental health problems’: Over a million young people have self-reported mental health issues. There is a spike in calls to Help Lines, with 84% reporting worse mental health following school closures or being no longer able to access mental health support.
  2. ‘Missing from education’: With schools only partially open and youth centres closed, as few as 5% of young people are currently engaged in school and have limited or no access to youth work. Even when schools reopen there are 700,000 young people persistently absent or NEET (not in education, employment or training).
  3. ‘At risk, at home’: Over a million young people are at risk from any of the so-called ‘toxic trio’ of addiction, mental health, and domestic abuse. Despite this, child protection referrals have plummeted by 50% in some areas.

Read more HERE

Coronavirus Risky Business: Economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis on different groups of workers.

  • Resolution Foundation, 28 April 2020.


The coronavirus crisis has affected everyone. Everyone’s health is at risk and to combat the disease, working lives have been altered across the country. But some are affected more than others: the relationship between the kind of job people have and their exposure to big economic or health risks in this crisis is by no means uniform. This report from the Resolution Foundation explores in detail those very different experiences across the workforce.

The Resolution Foundation identifies four main groups of workers that have had similar experiences in this crisis. Key workers are most exposed to the health risks from coronavirus because they continue to work in jobs where social distancing is very difficult. People working in shutdown sectors are the most likely to be feeling the economic effects of the crisis acutely. Workers not in these groups are more likely to be able to continue working with some form of normalcy, with some able to work from home and some still having to go out to work.

The Resolution Foundation suggests that key workers and workers in shutdown sectors are experiencing the most acute consequences of this crisis. Across these groups lower-paid people, young and women stand out as the hardest hit.

Read more HERE

Which industries are worst hit by both Brexit and COVID-19?

  • HR Review, from the CV Library 


According to the CV Library, the top 10 sectors that saw the biggest drop in job adverts as a result of Brexit and COVID-19 are:

  • Catering – down 52.8 per cent
  • Sales – down 23.8 per cent
  • Automotive – down 22.6 per cent
  • Recruitment – down 17.8 per cent
  • Administration – down 16.7 per cent
  • Retail – down 14 per cent
  • Customer Service – down 13.6 per cent
  • Marketing – down 13.5 per cent
  • Manufacturing – down 12.1 per cent
  • Leisure/Tourism – down 12 per cent

Not only job adverts are falling but also salary, as hospitality pay decreased by 9 per cent, catering by 5 per cent and leisure/tourism by 3 per cent. Industries that hire key workers have also witnessed a drop in pay as agriculture is down by 17 per cent, distribution by 6 per cent and public sector by 7 per cent.

Read more HERE

Coronavirus and the Labour Market: Impacts and Challenges

  • Learning and Work Institute, April 2020.

Summary: Coronavirus is a public health crisis and the Government has rightly taken unprecedented measures to tackle it. This has included significant restrictions on much social interaction and economic activity. 

The result has been the sharpest spike in unemployment on record. There were one million claims for Universal Credit in a two week period, 7.3 times higher than the same period one year ago. Gains in employment over the last five years have been lost in just one month, with unemployment already likely to be at least 50% higher. 

The impact of coronavirus will be felt unevenly, and there is a risk that it will deepen existing social and regional inequalities. These job losses have disproportionately affected young people, women and the lowest paid. These groups are more likely to work in sectors that have shut down or reduced activity, such as hospitality and retail. They are also less likely to be able to work from home. 

The impact also varies significantly across the country: 18% of jobs in Greater Manchester are in ‘shut down’ sectors compared to 15% in the East Midlands. Likewise, 36% of jobs in the North East are in the most at risk occupations, compared to 32% in London, reflecting differences in occupational structure and ability to work from home. 

The Government’s policy response has focused on: supporting businesses through grants, loans and other measures; helping people to stay in work, including by covering wages up to 80% of £2,500 per month per employee; and increasing the generosity of benefits. However, there is further to go and more we can learn from other countries. This includes the case for the ability to furlough workers part-time and increasing the generosity of benefits. 

The future is highly uncertain, but there are five big challenges that policy must address: 

  1. Support young people. We must avoid a ‘pandemic generation’ of young people with poorer education and skills prospects. 
  2. Utilise people’s skills. We should match those out of work or furloughed to jobs growth areas such as supermarkets, as well as chances to volunteer. 
  3. Prevent long-term unemployment. We must help those who lose their jobs back to work as quickly as possible, given the harm long-term unemployment does. 
  4. Prepare for withdrawal of support. Emergency support should be in place for as long as needed, but we need to think about how best to withdraw it when safe to do so. 
  5. Plan for the future. We need to think about how to combine high employment with improved security for people after the crisis.

Read more HERE

More than a quarter of companies anticipate hiring fewer graduates 

  • Institute of Student Employers, via Jasper Jolly /, 20th April 2020.

Summary: Some of the UK’s biggest employers have cancelled or delayed recruitment schemes and internships, amid concerns that the coronavirus pandemic could hit the job prospects of young people the hardest. Many of the largest graduate employers are services firms whose employees must work from home under the government’s lockdown guidelines, making welcoming new trainees difficult. At the same time, many big employers have already reported a steep fall in work, meaning training new workers has fallen down the list of priorities. More than a quarter of companies said they anticipated hiring fewer graduates because of the pandemic, according to a survey last month by the Institute of Student Employers. Non-graduate recruitment was also expected to be negatively affected for 23% of employers.

This comment was taken from a recent Guardian article HERE

For the full update from Institute of Student Employers see HERE 

COVID-19 will have a ‘scarring’ effect on the careers of young people

  • Institute for Fiscal Studies, via Jasper Jolly /, 20th April 2020.

Summary: Economists have found a persistent “scarring” effect on the careers of people who enter the labour market during a crisis, with wages still lower on average as long as five years after starting work. Paul Johnson, the Institute for Fiscal Studies director, said: “Previous experience suggests that university graduates will start off in lower paying jobs than otherwise and will suffer ‘scarring’ effects such that they will be more likely to be unemployed several years after graduating. It will take several years before their earnings catch up with what they otherwise would have been.”

This comment was taken from a recent Guardian article HERE

For the full update from Institute for Fiscal Studies regarding lasting effects on graduates see HERE 

“Youth employment prospects are crumbling”

  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, via Jasper Jolly /, 20th April 2020.

Summary: More than a quarter of firms expect to hire fewer graduates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). 

“Youth employment prospects are crumbling,” said Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “We are already seeing evidence that recruitment has fallen sharply, which is not surprising given that the government’s focus is on preserving [existing] jobs.”

This comment was taken from a recent Guardian article HERE

For latest news and updates from CIPD see HERE 

How are Gen Z responding to the coronavirus pandemic?

  • UK Trendence Research.  2nd April 2020.

Summary: UK Trendence Research ran a snap survey to understand how university students and young people are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. Key findings included:

  • Over 30% of students are worried that they’ll struggle to get a graduate job as a result of the pandemic. 
  • For those already in a recruitment process, just under 50% are still going ahead, with either minimal impact on the process or with their assessments moved to an online system – showing a level of agility from graduate employers. 
  • A fifth of students have completely lost the opportunities they were applying for.
  • A third of all students said they would like to receive regular email updates on how employers at large are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

UK Trendence Research suggests that the key to supporting students in this trying time, and to rebuilding their confidence, is regular communication from future employers on what they’re up to and how they’re responding to the situation.

Subscribe to read more HERE

The case for releasing the young from lockdown

  • Warwick University, 18th April 2020.

Summary: The UK is ‘locked down’ because of coronavirus (COVID-19). No clear exit strategy currently exists. This paper suggests a possible way forward that combines elements from economics and epidemiology. The paper proposes as a policy a ‘release’ from lockdown of the young cohort of UK citizens aged between age 20 and 30 who do not live with parents. The paper calculates that there are approximately 4.2 million UK individuals who fall into this 20-30 age-band and who live outside the original parental home. Of those, 2.6 million work in the private sector, so unless some corrective action is taken they are likely to be extremely harshly affected, financially, when compared to employees in the public sector. The paper argues that a young-workforce release of this kind would lead to substantial economic and societal benefits without enormous health costs to the country. In this way, the nation might begin to move forward in the footsteps of the young.

Read more HERE

Getting Back to Work: Dealing with the labour market impacts of the COVID-19 recession

  • Institute for Employment Studies (IES), 9th April 2020.

Summary: The report shows there is clear evidence that prolonged spells of unemployment, particularly while young, can cause long-lasting ‘scars’ on an individual’s future earnings, employment prospects and health and well-being. However, the evidence also shows that this is not inevitable: reducing the number of unemployment spells also reduces the harm caused. Early analysis suggests that groups at particular risk in this recession are likely to be young people and the lowest paid, with women more adversely affected than men. Older people are also likely to be particularly at risk, and we would anticipate a stronger sectoral bias in the recession than in the last – with retail and hospitality appearing to be particularly vulnerable. This report proposes five priorities for action. At their heart would be a new Back to Work campaign, underpinned by local Back to Work Partnerships and a Back to Work Service for the long-term unemployed:

1. Investment in new active labour programmes for those out of work
2. Refocusing skills and training to support the recovery
3. An integrated and coherent offer for young people
4. An orderly withdrawal from the Job Retention Scheme
5. A new, partnership-based, ‘Back to Work’ campaign

Read more HERE

Sector COVID-19 and the world of work: Impact and policy responses

  • International Labour Organization, 18th March 2020.

Summary: This note offers the ILO’s preliminary assessment concerning the possible impacts of COVID-19 on the world of work and proposes a range of policy options to mitigate these impacts and facilitate strong and fast recovery. 

Read more HERE

Sector shutdowns during the Coronavirus crisis: which workers are most exposed?

  • Institute for Fiscal Studies. Joyce, R. and Xu, X, 6th April 2020.

Summary: This paper explores which workers are most exposed as a result of the lock-down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has effectively shut down a number of sectors. Restaurants, shops and leisure facilities have been ordered to close, air travel has halted, and public transport has been greatly reduced. It argues: 

  • The lock-down will hit young workers the hardest. Employees aged under 25 were about two and a half times as likely to work in a sector that is now shut down as other employees.
  • Low earners are seven times as likely as high earners to have worked in a sector that is now shut down.
  • Women were about one third more likely to work in a sector that is now shut down than men.
  • One mitigating factor is that the majority of the affected younger workers and lower earners live with parents or others.

Read more HERE

Inequality in the impact of the Coronavirus Shock: New Survey Evidence for the UK

  • University of Oxford, University of Zurich and University of Cambridge, 1st April 2020.

Summary: This paper explores novel survey data from a large representative sample of UK workers on 25th March, two days into the government-imposed lock-down. Findings suggest that even with the unprecedented policy response from the government, many UK workers are already feeling the effects of the economic slowdown and expect significant economic hardship as a result of containment measures. Across all outcome measures, younger workers expect a more severe economic shock in the coming months than older workers: younger workers believe they have a much larger chance of losing their job and have difficulties paying their bills, and they also expect to make a smaller percentage of their usual income. Of those currently employed, on average, those under 30 expect there is a 39% chance of them losing their job or shutting their business if self-employed compared to 27% chance for workers aged 40-55. On average, those under 30 expect there is a 53% chance of them having difficulties paying their bills compared to 45% chance for workers aged 40-55. Those under 30 expect to have 40% lower earnings on average than usual over the next five months compared to 31% for those aged 40-55.

Read more HERE