The intergenerational impact of coronavirus

27th October 2020

The pandemic has touched the lives of billions of people. Everybody, it seems, has been impacted in some way.

However, evidence shows that the pandemic has affected different age groups in very different ways. A recent report1 indicates that although older generations have suffered the greatest health impact, young people have borne the social and financial brunt of the outbreak. The FCA agreed that younger people have been among the worst hit financially, attributing this to their disproportionate likelihood to work within sectors most affected by the crisis, including retail, leisure and hospitality.

Younger and older workers face significant challenges

Recent data2 confirms that this intergenerational pattern extends into the workplace. Younger (under 25) and older (50+) workers face different, but very real, challenges, with under-25s far more likely to be furloughed and over-50s more exposed to health risks due to their higher presence in sectors containing ‘key workers.’ Compounding the financial difficulties of younger people, severe disruption to education and training opportunities will make it harder for them to achieve employment in a depressed jobs market.

‘Middle’ age groups comparatively unharmed

Those between the ages of 25 and 50 are therefore less likely to be impacted by the financial and health risks of the pandemic. These generations are more likely to own their own homes, work in sectors less vulnerable to shut down, and are less at risk of severe health repercussions.

1OECD, 2020

2Business in the Community, 2020