Flexibility For Who? Millennials and mental health in the modern labour market
Younger workers face a future employment landscape that could damage their mental health and wellbeing unless we take action.
As a result of the evolution of the UK labour market over the past 25 years, today’s generation of younger workers - millennials and centennials (those born during or after 1982) – risk losing out on access to permanent, secure and fulfilling work. Compared to previous generations, they are more likely to be in work characterised by contractual flexibility (including part-time work, temporary work and self-employment). Relatedly, they are also more likely to be underemployed (and so be working fewer hours than they would like) and/or overqualified (being a graduate in a non-professional or managerial job).
For some young people in part-time or temporary work (particularly where this involves being underemployed and/or overqualified), their experiences of work may be putting their mental health and wellbeing at greater risk.
New analysis reveals younger workers in part-time and temporary work are more likely to experience poorer mental health and wellbeing, while there is more of a mixed picture among those who are self-employed. Similarly, younger workers who are underemployed or overqualified also experience worse mental health. This is likely to be explained – in part, but not entirely – by part-time and temporary work being linked to low pay and insecurity.