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Younger employees more likely to suffer poor mental wellbeing

Neville Koopowitz

Young workers are most likely to suffer with poor mental wellbeing at work reporting higher rates of depression and work-related stress. Contributor Neville Koopowitz, CEO –  VitalityHealth.

The data has been revealed as part of Vitality Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study, which is developed in partnership with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge. Employees below the age of 25 were found to have 3.5 times more incidences of depression compared to older employees (over 55) – the highest of any age group surveyed  (13.3 percent younger employees have depression, compared to just 3.8 percent of over 55s) 

A third (32.3 percent) of younger employees suffer from high levels of stress (two or more stress dimensions) compared to 24.3 percent of older employee (over 55). 

In the workplace young staff are more likely to feel: That they do not receive respect from colleagues; Experience strained relationships at work; Have a lack of clarity on duties and responsibilities.  The research shows that new entrants to the job market are the hardest hit 

In particular, those aged between 18-20 are particularly vulnerable reporting the worst outcomes across mental health, work performance, work engagement cultural perception, and shared identity with their employer. 

Poor mental wellbeing of younger workers significantly impacts businesses 

These issues manifest into lower engagement at work, a weakened sense of identity with the employer, and poorer work performance, costing UK plc. 

Employees below the age of 25 were found to have 2.3 times the level of sickness absence, and 1.7 times the level of presenteeism, compared to employees aged 55 or more

Employees below the age of 25 are less engaged than older workers, with only 9.0 percent of younger employees reporting that they exert a high level of discretionary effort at work, compared to 17.6 percent of older employees (over 55). 

Employees below the age of 25 are less likely to share the values of their employer compared to older workers (67.9 percent of younger employees, compared to 80.6 percent of older employees). 

Neville Koopowitz, CEO at VitalityHealth, said: “It is concerning to see that young workers are particularly vulnerable to pressures in the workplace, reporting higher levels of work-related stress and depression. Not only is this having a significant impact on their mental wellbeing at work, it is also affecting the performance of businesses with young workers reporting lower levels of engagement and productivity. 

“The results signify a clear need for employers to proactively engage with young workers and adopt comprehensive strategies to ensure successful on-boarding, and integration into the workforce. In addition, by prioritising and elevating employee engagement in health and wellbeing within the business, ideally to Board level, firms can make a significant difference to productivity and the overall success of their business.”

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