Qualitative Research for The Prince’s Trust Group on the Future of Work

Ipsos has conducted qualitative research with young people in five countries to inform the global report Generation Stand Up, Start Up: The Prince’s Trust Group Report on the Future of Work

The author(s)

  • Jessica Bruce Public Affairs
  • Ilya Cereso Public Affairs
  • Thea Ridley-Castle Public Affairs
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A new report Generation Stand Up, Start Up: The Prince’s Trust Group Report on the Future of Work has been published today by The Prince’s Trust GroupThe report draws on findings from qualitative research carried out by Ipsos. Ipsos carried out focus groups with young people in India, Jordan, Kenya, the UK and the US in June 2021. The research sought to understand young people’s perspectives on the scale and nature of their employment challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the opportunities and support needed to advance their careers.

Key findings from the qualitative research are:

  • Participants felt that the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly impacted young people: While older generations face higher health risks, participants felt the younger generation faces a wider range of barriers including:
  • Job losses (with young people more likely to be in a vulnerable position due to being at the start of their career or in entry-level/temporary jobs);
  • Reduced employment opportunities for those entering the job market;
  • Worsened quality of education due to interruptions and online learning;
  • Reduced social interactions although participants spoke positively about spending more time with family;
  • Worsened mental health; and
  • Physical health risks for frontline workers.

However, participants also cited benefits arising from the pandemic such as more time to invest in other interests, training and learning opportunities. Beyond the pandemic, young people felt their generation faced more barriers to achieving ‘success’ in their work, meaning they would need to work harder than their parents’ generation despite improved opportunities in education, career options and access to information.

  • The digital economy was perceived as growing and highly aspirational: Interest in digital jobs was high, with the sector seen as profitable, growing, sustainable and exciting. Many participants were keen to increase their digital skills and participants in all countries except the US reported their current skills were lacking.
  • While awareness of green jobs was limited, increased understanding appears to increase interest: While there was some interest in green jobs, low awareness and misconceptions relating to the nature, availability and reliability of green jobs meant participants struggled to see them as viable career options. Amongst participants with greater awareness, interest tended to be higher (in one of the US groups in particular).  
  • Participants in India, Jordan and Kenya in particular aspired to open their own business in the future: For the moment however, they lacked capital, experience and were cautious of losing a secure income.
  • Participants tend to prioritise income in a job over other priorities: While many participants felt that ethics in a job was important, many placed income as the top priority to meet financial commitments and basic needs. Ethical jobs tended to be conflated with a low income. Some participants did place ethics top, however, citing the importance of good working conditions throughout the supply chain and being able to deliver a positive impact through work. Participants tended to rank workplace benefits third when ranking the three priority areas (with those with an insecure income perceiving them as a luxury). Participants also referenced personal fulfilment, opportunities for progression and training, and a good work life balance.

Technical note

  • Ipsos carried out qualitative research with young people in India, Jordan, Kenya, the UK and the USA. Ipsos carried out two focus groups in each country between 7th-14th June 2021, reaching 47 participants in total.
  • The focus groups consisted of a younger age group (aged 16-22) and an older group (23-30). In the USA, the groups were aged 18-23 and 24-30. The groups reached a mix of men and women, participants from across wealth and income spectrums, and participants from urban and rural settings. The groups also included up to three participants per country from Prince’s Trust International programming.

The author(s)

  • Jessica Bruce Public Affairs
  • Ilya Cereso Public Affairs
  • Thea Ridley-Castle Public Affairs

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