Young people have seen their lives upended by the pandemic and may be reassessing their values and making major changes to their working and personal lives, a new report suggests.
Life and love in the time of Covid published by insurtech Urban Jungle examines the impact of lockdown restrictions on the lives of young people as the first anniversary of lockdown (March 23) approaches. Using insurance data and online surveys, the report shows the extent of the upheaval 18-34 year olds have faced in the past 12 months.
Among the findings is evidence that love lives have put on hold, major cities such as London have lost their allure, cycling as boomed and ‘WFH’ (working from home) has entered the everyday lexicon.
Jimmy Williams, CEO of Urban Jungle, which provides insurance for Generation Rent, said: “Every time the government imposed a new set of restrictions, there was a corresponding change in the nature of claims and inquiries we received. You can really see how the behaviour of people has been altered as a result of lockdown and restrictions.
“Young people’s lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic. Before, they were very active, geographically mobile and flocked to live in major cities such as London to find work and, often, love. Now the reverse is true, they are working from home, often stuck indoors, love lives on hold and, in many cases, are seeking greener climes to live in.”
Williams says the shifts in insurance data show stark changes since late March last year.
“Everything changed very suddenly and each time the government has imposed a lockdown we’ve seen an effect on the nature of claims and inquiries we receive. Last April, there was a big drop in lost or stolen laptops and mobiles as no-one was going out. However, there was a big rise in people spilling tea and coffee on devices as they were working from home.
“We’ve also seen fewer engagement rings being insured and we know there have been fewer weddings, for obvious reasons.
Williams says he is concerned about the lockdown impact on young people and what it might mean for London.
“I am concerned that many young people are living rather lonely and isolated lives right now and, understandably, some are voting with their feet and moving out of London to places where they feel safer.
“There may be some serious, long-term consequences here. We are seeing a lot of people move out of London and there’s no guarantee this trend will reverse. If young people no longer want to live in the capital then that has major implications for employers, landlords and the economy.
“I urge all business leaders to pay special attention to the younger adults in their workforces. Listen and engage with them, appreciate what they’ve been through and work hard to ensure the next 12 months is very different to the last.”