A new report shows younger workers in the UK’s flexible labour market are more likely to experience poorer mental health and wellbeing. The report from IPPR, the policy think tank, and Business in the Community presents new analysis. It considers younger workers (born since 1982) in part-time and temporary work and those who are underemployed and/or overqualified. These groups are more likely to affected compared to those in more permanent and secure work.
In July 2017, the Taylor Review set out the importance of ensuring more people in the UK can access ‘good work’. This analysis shows the importance of good work to mental health and wellbeing.
The analysis shows that younger workers in temporary jobs are 29% more likely to experience mental health problems. This is compared to those in permanent jobs (22% compared to 17%). It also found that 1 in 5 younger graduates who are in jobs for which they are overqualified report being anxious or depressed (22%). This is compared to 16% of graduates in professional or managerial jobs.
The report shows over the past 25 years there has been growth in the proportion of jobs in the UK which are not permanent and/or full-time. This is despite increased growth in full-time work since 2012. It also found that, compared to previous generations of younger workers, millennials are marginally more likely to be in atypical and/or insecure forms of work.
- 1 in 4 younger workers are in part-time work (26% in 2014, compared to 24% in 2004)
- Of younger workers 1 in 11 are in temporary work (9% in 2014, compared to 9% in 2004)
- 1 in 11 younger workers are self-employed (9% in 2014, compared to 7% in 2004)
- 13% of younger workers are graduates working in non-professional / managerial jobs – almost double the rate compared to 2004 (7%)
- 1 in 5 younger workers aged 16-24 are underemployed (19%) – more than double the rate among workers aged 25 and above
The report’s other key findings include
- Younger workers in part-time jobs are 43% more likely to experience mental health problems compared to those in full-time jobs (20% compared to 14%).
- They are also 33% more likely than those in full-time jobs to fall within the bottom 10% of the English adult population according to mental wellbeing.
- Younger workers in part-time jobs are 7% less likely than those in full-time jobs to report being satisfied with their life. This is even when controlling for variables including household income and prior life satisfaction.
- Those younger workers on zero-hours contracts are 13% more likely than those in other forms of work to experience mental health problems. This is even when controlling for variables including household income and mental health outcomes during adolescence.
- Younger workers who believe themselves to have more than a 50% chance of losing their job are twice as likely to experience mental health problems. This is compared to those with no chance of losing their job (24% compared to 12%).
- The proportion of employees aged 21-25 who were in low-paid work increased by 82% between 1990 and 2015.
- Employees aged 18-29 are twice as likely as those aged 50-59 to describe their current mental health as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ (16% compared to 8%)
- 21% of younger workers on low-pay experience mental health problems, compared to 16 per cent of those who are not on low pay
You can download the full report here.