News: Early 20s workers more prone to illness than early 40s - Study tells how salary has a link

Employment Landscape

Early 20s workers more prone to illness than early 40s - Study tells how salary has a link

5% of young individuals were found economically inactive due to health issues, signalling a worrying trend of youth vulnerability in the workforce. Furthermore, it underscored a troubling reversal in mental health patterns among this demographic.
Early 20s workers more prone to illness than early 40s - Study tells how salary has a link

Amidst growing concerns about employee well-being in the workforce, a recent study has uncovered a notable trend: workers in their early 20s are more vulnerable to illness compared to those in their early 40s.

The Resolution Foundation reported a notable shift in workforce trends, with individuals in their early 20s now more prone to being out of work due to health issues compared to those in their early 40s. 

This marks a significant departure from historical patterns where older age groups were more commonly affected by work absence due to illness. The foundation highlighted this shift as "radically different" from previous norms. 

The rise in absenteeism among young adults is attributed in part to the increasing prevalence of poor mental health, as indicated by official statistics. The report underscored the detrimental impact of health-related absenteeism on the educational and employment prospects of young individuals, potentially relegating them to lower-paying jobs or unemployment. 

In 2023, the report noted that one in 20 young people (5%) were economically inactive due to health issues. This finding highlights a concerning trend regarding the increasing vulnerability of young people to health-related workforce exclusion. Additionally, the report highlighted a concerning reversal in mental health trends among young people. 

Unlike two decades ago when they exhibited the lowest incidence of common mental disorders, young individuals now face the highest prevalence of poor mental health compared to other age groups. 

The prevalence of mental health issues among young people aged 18 to 24 has risen significantly in recent years. In 2021/22, 34% of individuals in this age group reported symptoms of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. 

This marks a notable increase from the 24% reported in 2000. As a consequence of this concerning trend, over half a million individuals aged 18 to 24 were prescribed antidepressants in the year 2021-22 alone. 

Louise Murphy, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, emphasised the intersection of poor mental health and education outcomes, particularly among young people outside of higher education. She highlighted that the economic impact is most pronounced for young non-graduates, with one in three experiencing worklessness due to common mental disorders. 

Furthermore, the study revealed gender disparities, indicating that young women are disproportionately affected by poor mental health compared to young men. They are one-and-a-half times more likely to experience such issues, with 41% of young women affected compared to 26% of young men. 

The research highlighted that 79% of 18 to 24-year-olds experiencing worklessness due to ill health have qualifications at GCSE level or below, contrasting starkly with the 34% of all individuals in that age bracket. 

Moreover, the report underscored the academic impact of poor mental health on younger children, revealing that those aged 11 to 14 facing mental health issues are three times more likely to fail to achieve five GCSEs, including English and Maths, compared to their healthier peers. 

In response to these findings, the Resolution Foundation is advocating for improved mental health support in colleges and sixth forms. Additionally, it urges concerted efforts to enhance educational attainment among young people, aiming to reduce the number leaving compulsory education with lower qualification levels. 

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Topics: Employment Landscape, #Wellbeing, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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