Survey: Pandemic shutdowns created ‘lost generation’ that will impact careers, mental health

By Casey Harper | The Center Square

New national research shows that parents fear students who lost time in school during the pandemic shutdowns could experience long-term effects on their learning and career opportunities.

Express Employment Professionals released a new survey Wednesday that explores the “long-term personal, professional, mental and financial ramifications” for students impacted by school shutdowns.

The poll found that 81% of adults think the school disruptions will create challenges for young people’s school and job performance.

“The disruptions to education will mean a whole generation or more is falling further behind,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said. “Getting back to the pre-pandemic status quo won’t be enough. And Americans are in general agreement: we’re witnessing the creation of a ‘lost generation.’”

The group said that “the vast majority (84%) think a ‘lost generation of students’ will be a problem for employers in the U.S., including around one-third (34%) who think it will be a large problem.”

The survey found that “nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) believe society as a whole will suffer from the ‘lost generation’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic and when asked who is responsible for fixing the ‘lost generation of students,’ Americans most commonly say the individuals themselves are responsible (52%). This is followed by parents of the individuals (45%), educators (e.g., teachers, school administrators, etc.) (43%), the U.S. Department of Education (39%) and employers (31%).”

Researchers found Americans are concerned that the loss in education will have a long-term impact on GDP, mental health, and affect students’ lifetime earning capacity.

“The start of this new school year is an inflection point with big implications in the coming years,” Stoller said. “Intervention now is imperative to save this ‘lost generation,’ and the good news is it’s not too late. Change will take a concerted effort by many entities, but it’s well worth the investment.”

The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll in the U.S. between July 29 and August 2, 2021, querying 2,099 U.S. residents ages 18 and older.

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