Old and young most likely to have stopped work temporarily during pandemic

A survey from PwC shows older and younger workers are more likely to be furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic, but younger workers are more likely to lose their jobs and find a new one.

Age bias at work

 

Younger and older workers are the most likely to have had their work stopped by employers temporarily, including being furloughed, during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by PwC.

The data suggests workers aged between 18-34, along with the over 55s, are most likely to have had their work stopped by employers temporarily (including being furloughed). Both age brackets have seen 26% being furloughed, compared to only 20% of those aged between 35-54.

PwC says younger people are facing the most disruption to their jobs as a result of COVID-19, being three times as likely as other age groups to lose their job as a result. The survey of 2,000 adults found that, while the total number of people reporting losing their job is small (3%), younger people are far more likely than older age groups to be affected – 6% of respondents in the 18-34 age group say they have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic, but only 2% of respondents in the other age categories (35-54, 55+) say the same.

However, those aged between 18-34 are also more likely to have started a new job since the beginning of COVID-19. Of the total number (3%) who have started a new job since COVID-19 took effect, three quarters (75%) are aged between 18-34.

The survey also suggests that more women than men have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Of the people surveyed, 78% of those who said they have been laid off are women. However, women and men have had their work stopped by employers temporarily (including being furloughed) in fairly equal measure, with 24% of men saying they have been furloughed and 23% of women saying the same.

In addition, the data suggests productivity levels are up overall, with 61% of workers saying that they are more productive working from home during COVID-19 than at their normal place of work. Only 39% say they are not.  However, people are split on their views of homeworking overall – while 39% would like to work from home more once lockdown ends, 38% say the reverse (and 18% say they never want to work from home again).

Carol Stubbings, global leader of people and organisation at PwC, said: “It’s concerning to see that young people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 related unemployment. This may well be due to higher proportions of this age group working in jobs that require face-to-face contact or in heavily affected industries, such as hospitality and retail. Moreover, women in these industries are more likely to work in lower-skilled or lower-paying positions, which are more susceptible to COVID-19 related layoffs than men.

“While the government’s unprecedented support package has undoubtedly softened the blow for many workers and enabled a large number of companies and jobs to remain viable in the short term, as we look ahead to next year when the virus hopefully subsides, it’s vital that business, government and society work together to ensure that all workers who have lost their jobs have access to the relevant training they need to acquire new skills, which should help them re-enter the labour market, access good jobs and achieve high levels of productivity.”

 



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