The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index 2018

24 January 2018

  • The ninth Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index reveals young people’s happiness and confidence are at lowest levels since study was launched
  • The number of young people who don’t feel in control of their lives has increased by more than one third year-on-year
  • One in four working young people feel trapped in a cycle of jobs they don’t want, and while 73% think they are capable of getting a better job, many are held back by low confidence and a lack of opportunities to develop their skills
  • The Prince’s Trust calls on the government and employers to focus on young people and provide them with the skills and confidence they need to thrive

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index, released today reveals that almost half of young people in the UK (44%) fear that the economy will provide fewer job opportunities for their generation in the next three years.1

The index is a national survey that gauges young people’s happiness and confidence across a range of areas from working life to physical health. The latest report demonstrates that young people’s wellbeing, which dropped last year to its lowest level since the index was first commissioned, has fallen again to a new low this year2, and that concerns about their job prospects are playing on their minds.

The ninth index – based on a survey of 2,194 young people aged 16 to 25 – suggests that the current job market is holding young people back, revealing that one in four working young people feel trapped in a cycle of jobs they don’t want. Many are feeling confined by their circumstances, with almost a third (29%) of working young people having to take whatever jobs they can get rather than focus on developing their career.

While 73% of those working think they are capable of getting a better job, 59% feel they need opportunities to develop their skills before they can think about career options and 54% believe a lack of self-confidence holds them back. Almost a third (29%) of all young people think getting relevant work experience is one of the biggest challenges in pursuing a career.

The index also shows a mismatch between young people and the jobs they are taking on. 41% of young people who are in employment will compromise when it comes to the hours they work with 26% working more hours than they would like and 15% underemployed,  wanting to take on more hours. More than a quarter (27%) of working young people are working part time (under 35 hours per week), one in ten (10%) are on zero hours contracts and 12% are currently working two or more jobs.

Fading hope for brighter futures

The latest research shows that the number of young people who don’t feel in control of their lives has increased by more than one third, from 28% in our 2017 report to 39% in the 2018 report. A fifth (21%) even think their life will amount to nothing, no matter how hard they try. One factor that is taking a toll on young minds is the unpredictable political climate, which is making 59% of young people feel anxious about their future.

Nick Stace, UK chief executive at The Prince’s Trust, said: “This report highlights a staggering deterioration in young people’s confidence in themselves and in their future. The cliff edge decline in young people not feeling in control of their lives echoes conversations we have every day with young people who speak of their fears about finding work, taking short term jobs over longer term careers and the knock on effect of heightened uncertainty in the economy.

“This has to be our moment to redouble what we do as a Trust and as a society. It is our fundamental belief that every young person should have the chance to succeed and when they do our country will also succeed.”

David Fass, CEO EMEA, Macquarie Group, said: “It is concerning to find that so many young people feel out of control and trapped in a cycle of unrewarding jobs. At Macquarie, we are committed to investing in young people and are proud to support The Prince’s Trust, which works across the UK to ensure that each and every young person has the opportunity and support to achieve his or her maximum potential.”

In response to the issues raised in the report, The Prince’s Trust is refining its eligibility criteria to reflect the evolving needs of the young people it supports, for example those who are underemployed. These changes will enable even more young people to access the charity’s services and with a greater degree of flexibility. Already, provision is available online for young people who are working or studying up to 35 hours per week and want to improve their employability skills or explore the idea of starting their own business.

Prince’s Trust Online, launched in July 2017, is a new service which enables young people anywhere in the UK to access employability and enterprise programmes online via smartphones, tablets and computers at times that suit them. The service also allows users to benefit from Prince’s Trust services even if they can’t attend in person because of where they live, or their personal circumstances, meaning even more young people will be able to overcome barriers in their lives. More services will be added to Prince’s Trust Online over the coming year.

This year, The Prince’s Trust will support around 60,000 disadvantaged young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to succeed in life.

Notes to editors

A sample of 2,194 16-25 year olds took part in an online survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Prince’s Trust between the 9th and 26th of November 2017. The figures have been weighted and are representative of 16-25 year olds in the UK. 

About The Trust

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976, the charity has supported 11 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion for over 40 years. 

Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. 

Further information about The Prince’s Trust is available at or on 0800 842 842.

About Macquarie Group Foundation

The Macquarie Group Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group. It helps to strengthen the communities in which Macquarie staff live and work by facilitating staff volunteering and pro bono programs with community organisations around the world.  Macquarie employees and the Macquarie Group Foundation have also given generously, resulting in more than £159 million donated to over 2,500 organisations globally over the past 30 years.  

Macquarie has been a partner of the Prince’s Trust since 2006, funding initiatives such as their Enterprise Programme, STEM centre (science, technology, engineering and maths) in East London along with the Youth Index for five years. Most recently the Macquarie Group Foundation has partnered with their sister charity, Prince’s Trust International in India and Australia.


  1. While almost half of young people in the UK (44%) fear that the economy will provide fewer job opportunities for their generation in the next three years, only 14% of respondents think the UK economy will provide more job opportunities for young people in the next three years.
  2. The Index, which measures levels of happiness and confidence, decreased by one point – down from 70 to 69 – in the last 12 months.