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In December 2021, we commissioned Opinium to survey a representative sample of 2,000 adults across the UK on their thoughts about social mobility, the future of work for young people, and how to improve workplace access for young people post-Covid.

We found that only three in 10 adults in the UK are optimistic about the future of work for young people and almost seven out of 10 think that investing in youth should be an important part of the UK’s post-COVID recovery.

These findings come as wider research shows that the pandemic has harmed educational and employment outcomes for the ‘COVID generation’ of young people, especially for those from less advantaged backgrounds.

Between 2020 and 2021, an additional 420,000 young people became eligible for free school meals, taking the total to 1.74 million pupils. And in 2021, the A-Level attainment gap between students on free school meals and their peers widened.

Summary of findings
of people think that investing in young people should be an important part of the UK’s post-Covid recovery.
think that the future of work is positive for young people in the UK.
think that employers have a responsibility to support young people’s skills development.
believe that paid internships are one of the most important steps employers can take to boost social mobility.
Our recommendations

Based on our experience and wider research, we have three core recommendations, each one aimed at boosting social mobility, levelling up the skills of young people, and ensuring that employers have access to future talent.

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