The five biggest losers of the pandemic

Last updated

7th February 2022

Read time

3 minutes

We know that every person across the globe has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some groups have been more significantly impacted than others – and they need our support in bouncing back.

To identify how businesses can best empower the most disadvantaged groups, we did some digging. Our latest research reveals the five groups hit hardest over the last two  years.

Underrepresented Talent (19 out of 20)

People from lower socio-economic backgrounds are often particularly affected during challenging times. Since COVID hit, these groups are less likely to have had access to support networks and technology. Virtual workplaces and hiring journeys have damaged these individuals’ career progression. Pre-existing workplace injustices are amplified. Research shows people within the UK Financial Services from lower socio-economic backgrounds take 25% longer to progress in their career – despite no evidence of poorer performance. This increases to 32% for those people who also identify as Black.

Hospitality Industry (18 out of 20)

Over 2020 and 2021, the industry was forced to place thousands of people on furlough due to social distancing and lockdown restrictions bringing the whole sector to a halt. Even with many businesses now successfully open, many of previous employees have decided to find new industries to work in. This has left hospitality businesses with a significant employee shortage.

University students (17 out of 20)

Many businesses have reduced or paused on their early talent hires. Many internships and graduate placements have been cut, limiting the breadth of opportunities available after a Zoom Graduation. Plus, traditional on-campus events moved to digital, online sessions. With a significant reduction in engagement and networking when compared to in-person opportunities, The Class of 2020 and 2021 are at a disadvantage compared to previous cohorts when entering the workplace.

School students (14 out of 20)

Virtual classrooms come without the key peer-to-peer learning, in-person teaching and soft skill development. Home learning has meant lack of tech, space or broadband accessibility has also presented crucial barriers to school students. Fewer work experience opportunities have meant students lack insight and confidence to explore their future careers. ISE’s Recruitment Survey released in November 2021 data showed internships and placements rise between the end of 2019 and 2020, but are still not close to pre-pandemic levels.

New starters (8 out of 20)

Pre- and onboarding phases have been tough in the virtual workplace. Building important relationships and ‘learning by osmosis’ are key in successful progression, development and belonging – yet have been removed for millions of new starters.


At Connectr, we specialise in putting the human back into HR, and restoring connections with all of these groups – whether they are a candidate or an employee. Connectr’s technology is designed with inclusion and belonging at its core, so no one is left behind.

Find out how your business can stand out from the crowd and turn D&I strategy into reality for those who need it. Let’s chat.


To determine this list, our experts looked at all key groups affected by the pandemic and assigned them a score out of 10 for both the financial and the emotional impact caused by COVID-19. The financial impact score was based on factors including salary lost, employment opportunities missed, and time wasted. The emotional impact included measures such as increased stress, discrimination, and additional time pressures. This gave each group a score out of 20, 20 being the most impacted and 0 being the least impacted.