How well do we do mental wellbeing?

The topic of the last Breakfast News was mental wellbeing. We all know that young people can become anxious about applying to, and being assessed for, jobs. But what precisely is generating that anxiety? This was the main focus of our Student Anxiety Study where we explored job-related anxieties and their implications for different groups of students.

In November, we surveyed more than 1,700 students and discovered that 73% of our respondents were more worried about the application process than joining a workplace. When we looked at the different application stages students might encounter, only 18% were worried about completing an online application form, but the percentage increased steadily when we look further down the recruitment process. 61% were worried about video interviews, 58% about group interviews, and 59% about assessment centres.

While it is normal to experience a moderate level of stress when making career-related decisions, in some cases the pressure becomes too high. More than 1 in 10 students (15%) were so anxious about video and group interviews that they would consider pulling out of the application process. Their main concerns related to their lack of confidence in showcasing their presentation and technical skills.

We thus know that students are affected by the pressure of the application process, but how do they feel about the first weeks in their new job? While students had practical concerns about the application process, when we asked them about their first graduate position their worries were more related to the interpersonal aspects of their job. Feeling part of the team and having a supporting manager were the main issues. Additionally, 55% of students were concerned about the rent cost, 49% about the cost of living.

The findings get even more interesting when we look at different groups of students and their specific worries. 76% of female students reported being anxious or very anxious regarding the application process, but only 53% of their male counterparts felt the same. Students from Russell Group universities were less worried about starting a job and less concerned about finances and finance-related issues compared to students from other university groups. Finally, living permanently away from home for the first time made 43% of BAME students anxious, compared to only 29% of white ethnicity students.

The results suggest that recruiters and employers need to take a holistic approach towards both recruiting and helping their new hires adapt to the workplace. Special attention also ought to be given to each assessment method, making sure that candidates are not put under any unnecessary pressure as this may become a barrier to recruiting the best talent.

Want to see the full results of our survey? Email us today at