We look at why employers should invest in the health of their younger workforce


The younger generations are key to a successful workforce and economy.

Why? Because they're quite literally the future. It’s therefore imperative that employers look into and invest in the health and wellbeing of young employees because, according to latest reports, younger staff are more likely to be off work through sickness than employees in their 40s.

Mental health issues are increasing, and are becoming a large contributing factor to the increase in long-term sickness and unemployment amongst young people; around 20,000 people are off work in the UK every month due to poor mental health. According to the latest World Happiness report, young people in particular are becoming less happy compared to older generations and they’re going through what many might say is a ‘mid-life crisis’, a lot earlier than they should be.

How to improve sickness levels

To prevent such high numbers, employers should focus on wellbeing and mental health initiatives for staff so that wellbeing can be monitored and improved before it turns into a rise in absences, or worse unemployment. There are preventative strategies that can be put into place so that staff members, and young people in particular, feel comfortable and happy in the workforce. This ultimately leads to higher productivity within the business, lower sickness rates, and less presenteeism.

The importance of quick access to support

Aside from prevention, it’s equally important to make sure that help is available, whether it’s via Employee Assistance Programmes, mental health first aiders, psychological wellbeing support or counselling and general occupational health assistance. With NHS waitlists at an all-time high, employees need the help quickly and through occupational health; this will help those return to work from sickness time-off more quickly, and more importantly, it helps the individuals.

Act now to improve recruitment

Mental health and wellbeing are big concerns for younger people, and it’s clear they should be on the agenda for organisations. As mentioned above, it helps with absences, but it also can improve recruitment of younger people. Knowing that there’s support at work for mental wellbeing will be more enticing for many as young people know that they can’t access it easily and taking care of their mental wellbeing is a priority.

There’s been a generational shift when it comes to mental health and work. Whilst older generations may prefer just ‘working through it’, younger generations now have adopted a health first, work second mentality. Having support available within the workplace, combines both and can make younger people feel more content and safer.

Developing the modern, working force of the future, should be a high priority for organisations as it benefits everyone. Business can go on thriving with a healthy workforce as there’s a lack of sickness absences, happier staff, and more productivity.