More than half of under 35 employees fear Covid-19 will affect their careers

Young people fear Covid-19 will affect their professional development, according to new research.

A survey of 1,015 GB employees, conducted by housing association Aster Group and YouGov, revealed that 56% of under 35s are worried the changes to how they work caused by the coronavirus pandemic will affect their professional development. Among over 45s, the figure was significantly lower at 39%.

The findings come amid concerns of a ‘lost generation’, with fears Covid-19 will disproportionately harm the careers and earning potential of young people in the workplace.

Responding to the survey findings, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, president of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said they underline the need for urgent action from businesses to support young people.

Sir Cary said: “Now is the time for businesses to really focus on the ‘human’ in ‘human resources’. The traditional office working environment is dead and leaders must find a way to “be present” to combat the lack of face-to-face interactions, particularly for younger employees who often need the most guidance.

“The role of the manager has to change and become more pastoral so that employees can open up to their team leaders, and vice versa. Leading a team is no longer just about deadlines and KPIs. It must include promoting a healthy work-life balance and checking in on how people are doing, from both a professional and personal perspective.”

Aster also surveyed 1,004 GB senior decision makers, who echoed the concerns raised by employees. When asked how much they thought their employees had developed during the period since the onset of Covid-19, half (50%) of senior decision-makers said either ‘not very much’ (38%) or ‘not at all’ (12%).

In response to the survey findings, Aster Group has said that businesses must embrace a future where more people work remotely, but called on them to adapt how they engage with their employees to ensure that no one, particularly younger members of the workforce, are left isolated or disconnected.

Rachel Credidio, group transformation and people director at Aster Group, said: “The impact of Covid-19 on jobs has been felt far more acutely by young people than any other group. This should be a wake-up call to the business community, who risk losing touch with their younger employees if they don’t do more to proactively engage and support them.

“There is no doubt that flexible working is the future, but the disconnect it can create makes it even more important that firms do everything they can to stay in regular contact with their employees. They must find new and innovative ways of effectively providing the training, mentoring, support and social interaction that is sometimes easier and more natural to deliver in a traditional office environment.”

Aster Group is a housing association that employs more than 1,200 people across the South of England where it owns and manages over 32,000 social, affordable rent and shared ownership homes.

Notes to editors

About the research:

YouGov, on behalf of Aster Group, conducted two surveys – one of 1,015 GB employees and one of 1,004 GB senior business decision makers (excluding sole traders). Responses were collected between 15th and 19th October and 13th-19th October 2020 respectively. The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.

Find out more about ambition, motivation and belonging in the workplace by clicking here.

About Aster Group:

Aster Group supplies a wide range of housing options in response to the housing crisis, working towards its vision of ensuring everyone has a home. The not-for-dividend business was established in 1990 and has £2 billion worth of assets. Aster plans to invest £2 billion over seven years on 10,400 new homes.

Aster forecasts delivering 855 homes during the current financial year (2020/21). The group reinvests profits from open market sale and shared ownership to support the development of affordable rented homes. It owns and maintains over 32,000 homes, provides services to around 93,000 customers and employs more than 1,400 people.

Aster Group’s corporate social responsibility commitments set out the additional work the business chooses to do. For more information, visit

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