IPPR Report: Flexibility for Who?

Executive Summary / Introduction


Button - Flexibility for who?

Millennials and mental health in the modern labour market 

Analysis from IPPR (Institute for Public Policy and Research) and Business in the Community presents new evidence that shows that younger workers (born since 1982) in part-time and temporary work - as well as those underemployed are more likely to experience poorer mental health and wellbeing, compared to those in more permanent, secure and/or fulfilling work.

In July 2017, the government-commissioned Taylor Review set out the importance of ensuring more people in the UK can access ‘good work’. This new IPPR analysis sheds light on the importance of good work in relation to mental health and wellbeing.  

Key findings:

  • 1 in 4 younger workers are in part-time work (26%), while 1 in 11 are in temporary work (9%), and 1 in 11 are self-employed (9%).
  • 1 in 5 younger workers aged 16-24 are underemployed (19%) – more than double the rate among workers aged 25 and above
  • 13% of younger workers are graduates working in non-professional/managerial jobs – almost double the rate compared to 2004 (7%)

The report recommends that every company with over 50 employees should create a ‘workers’ forum’ in order to ensure that employees – including those on flexible contracts - have sufficient influence over their working lives in addition, the report recommends that government establish a new national mission to boost job quality, and report on job quality in addition to the employment rate, arguing that promotion and protection of mental health and wellbeing should be a key component of measures of job quality.  


'There’s a compelling business and moral case for employers to support the mental health of all their people by embedding wellbeing, which includes good job design, into organisational culture. Responsible employers need to have a special focus on promoting and protecting the mental health of younger colleagues.  All employees need to feel it’s safe to disclose a mental health issue at work with the reassurance that they will be supported and not judged.’
Business in the Community Wellbeing Director, Louise Aston