Future of Work Report – Meet Generation ‘Stand Up, Start Up’

22nd September 2021

Covid-19 has had a seismic impact on young people around the world, with 1.5 million children’s educations disrupted, and one in six young people losing their jobs due to the pandemic. This exacerbated existing employment trends with 470 million new jobs already needed for young people by 2030 before the pandemic began.

To fully understand the needs and ambitions of young people around the world in relation to the future of work, a research report was commissioned by The Prince’s Trust group of charities, with the support of HSBC.

Through quantitative opinion polls, and qualitative focus groups conducted by YouGov and Ipsos MORI respectively, we sought to understand:

  1. What was the impact of the global pandemic on young people’s lives and livelihoods?
  2. What are young people’s hopes and aspirations for their future careers?
  3. What support do they need from governments, employers and civil society to realise their ambitions?

By highlighting the attitudes of young people about the future of work, the report is an essential tool to help inform our own programmatic delivery and engage key stakeholders with the most pressing issues facing young people today.

The results of the research demonstrate that young people are ready to build their own futures and step forward as part of ‘Generation Stand Up, Start Up’. There is a growing trend of young people exploring opportunities to work for themselves (41%) rather than start their careers through more traditional routes, and 35% of respondents cited entrepreneurship as providing the most opportunities for young people.

The research also shows that they view life skills, such as self-confidence and teamwork, as being equally important for youth as basic schooling (86%), and that schools should be teaching the skills that are relevant for the world of work, such as digital literacy (85%).

The research highlighted three key areas central to the future of work for young people:

Future Skills – Young people want to develop life skills that will prepare them for the world of work.

Top of the list are life skills such as self-confidence, teamwork and communications. Basic schooling and digital literacy are also seen as essential. From employers, they want to understand how these skills will help them develop pathways for career progression.


Entrepreneurship – There is an emerging shift in the attitudes of young people towards entrepreneurship.

Our research showed that one in five young people now work for themselves; many used the changes forced by Covid-19 to develop a ‘side hustle’. Entrepreneurship is seen as a route to both financial wealth and the flexibility needed to manage caring responsibilities. Young people said that they would most like to work for themselves.


Sustainability – Young people want to work in emerging green and digital industries.

They want to be agents of sustainable change. While income remains their primary motivation for work, ethical concerns are increasingly determining their choices. But there is a significant knowledge gap relating to how they access these opportunities.


Prince’s Trust International is committed to amplifying the voices of young people as the world adapts to Covid-19. Through the report we have gained essential insight into the attitudes of young people to the future of work, the industries they wish to work in and the skills they need to make their ambitions come true.

We are calling for partnership from government, business, and organisations like ours, to work together and ensure that young people have the right skills and opportunities to take ownership of their futures as the next generation of entrepreneurs, employers, and employees.

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