Scots teens may have future careers blighted by COVID crisis

The emerging generation of Scottish teenagers could see their career chances "scarred" for the rest of their working lives by the COVID crisis, MSPs have been told.

Scots teens could see their job prospects blighted

The economic lockdown of recent months was described as an "extraordinary and unwanted social" experiment" by members of the Scottish Government's Advisory Group on Economic Recovery.

Former banking chief Benny Higgins, who sits in the group, said a "brave and radical" approach will be needed as the economy starts to fire back up again as he appeared before Holyrood's economy committee.

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Mr Higgins admitted that he feared for the prospects of younger Scots trying to get a foothold in the labour market.

"We have to look specifically and make specific provision for the generation that actually could be really hurt by this and scarred in the long run," he said.

“I would suggest that one group is the late teenagers into their mid-twenties, coming out of secondary or tertiary education.

"It's a very different world than they would have thought only a matter of months ago."

Dame Julia Unwin who also sits on the committee added: "We know from all research over decades that if there is time lost from the labour market in that age group, the group Benny talked about, it's a scar across their working lives and their incomes until they retire.

"One way of another we need to find ways in which companies could step up and make a different sort of offer with support from Government."

The new ways of working which many Scots have grown accustomed to are probably here to stay, Mr Higgins added.

"This has been on some levels the most unwanted, but the most extraordinary social experiment of civilisation.

"We have learned actually in this time that there are good things that have emerged and the speed at which many people have adopted home working is clearly going to stay with us."

But it has also laid bare many of the inequalities across society.

"The top 50% of the UK by earnings largely can work from home - at 90% (of the 50%),”Mr Higgins said.

"Whereas the the bottom 50% it's 10% can work from home."