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Under 35s face professional confidence crisis

?Under 35s are facing a confidence crisis at work after feeling isolated and afraid to speak out to colleagues.

A study by consultancy Utopia found workers in this age group felt “immense pressure” to hold a standard of professionalism that shuns emotion and favours traditional masculine behaviour, meanwhile juggling responsibilities at work.

Half of men under 35 (54%) said they were afraid to fail at work, increasing to 63% for women. The 2,000 respondents said the added strain of coronavirus, working from home, staff cuts and pay reductions only added to this feeling of unease.

A worrying 53% of workers also said they felt they would be judged for being vulnerable at work.

This is leading the age group to think their job prospects are frozen, with nowhere to raise these issues and little support.

Forty-one per cent of women under 35 felt they could not advance in their career due to their gender, compared to 25% of women across all age brackets.

Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder of Utopia, said: “Under-35s are facing a confidence crisis at work - the mounting pressure of responsibility at home, coupled with the traditionally masculine traits still prevalent in many organisations, means they’re uncomfortable with seemingly simple fixes like asking for help. For women in particular, this has led to frustration when it comes to career progression.”

Just less than half (48% of men and 46% of women) felt unable to ask for emotional support when they needed it at work.

This unease also carried into workers’ personal lives, with 67% of men of this age group feeling responsibility to provide for their family and 52% of women feeling the same.

A similar percentage of men and women (50% and 48% respectively) felt it was their responsibility to take on the role of primary carer in the household.

Fiandaca added: “As new lockdown measures cause further anxiety, it’s vital that business leaders take time to check in with employees and demonstrate empathy.

"The focus on employee wellbeing can’t be forgotten simply because people are now 'used' to lockdown and working from home; under-35s are clearly feeling the strain, and their concerns need to be acknowledged and addressed with clearly-mapped support strategies.”

Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey, conducted pre-pandemic, found young workers using their smartphone for business purposes outside of working hours almost doubled between 2018 and 2019.