Unemployed Gen Zers are having to turn down work because they can’t afford the commute and uniform, report shows

 Following extensive interviews and successful job offers, many Gen Zers are declining roles due to the financial burdens associated with starting a new job, as per recent research. Findings from The Prince's Trust annual NatWest Youth Index 2024, based on a survey of over 2,000 individuals aged 16 to 25 in the U.K., reveal that the cost of living is causing anxiety and limiting career aspirations among the youth. From expenses like obtaining work-appropriate attire to covering the cost of commuting, the financial strain has led one in 10 unemployed Gen Zers to reject job offers.

The survey also highlights a concerning decrease in financial confidence among young people, with over half expressing fear of never achieving financial security, and over a third feeling stressed just thinking about money. This unease is particularly acute among young women, with 60% concerned about financial stability and half fearing they won't earn enough to support a family. Conversely, around 45% of young men share similar concerns.

Surprisingly, TikTok has become a popular platform for financial advice among the surveyed age group, with the number seeking advice on budgeting doubling since 2022. The research emphasizes that the current economic climate is significantly impacting the confidence, well-being, and future aspirations of young individuals, particularly those from less affluent backgrounds, with overarching effects on their mental health.

Jonathan Townsend, the U.K. chief executive of the Prince's Trust, warns of a vicious cycle wherein unemployment negatively affects mental health, and in turn, mental health impacts employability. Notably, 40% of respondents report mental health struggles, with a third fearing it will hinder their career progression. A substantial portion has missed school or work, felt too overwhelmed to apply for jobs, and some have even quit due to mental health challenges.

The findings also shed light on the impact of mental health on job performance, with a significant majority of young workers being mentally absent during work, equivalent to missing about a day's work every week. Despite these challenges, the research presents an opportunity for employers to support young workers by providing practical support and guidance with work experience, CV writing, interview skills, and job-specific training.  

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