Sharp rise in young Neets

THE number of young people without either work or training has soared to nearly a million, according to new figures which came as the low pay of many graduates was revealed.

One in six people aged 16 to 24 are not in education, employment or training, an analysis of government figures found. The number of “Neets” hit 979,000 between April and June, up more than 100,000 on the same period last year, the Institute for Employment Studies said yesterday.

A separate study revealed that the bottom fifth of university-educated workers earned less than the average pay of 18-year-old school-leavers.

The data comes only a week after a shock rise in youth unemployment to 20.2 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points from the first quarter.

Yesterday Jim Hillage, director of research at the IES, said the figures were likely to worsen.

“Young adults who can’t find an apprenticeship or a college place are finding it particularly hard to compete for jobs against older, more experienced, job-seekers not just from this country but also from the rest of Europe.”

The major rise in the number of Neets was among those aged 19 to 24, which reached 794,000, up 120,000 over the past year and the highest since 2006. The numbers of Neets aged 16 to 18 fell by more than 10,000 to 186,000.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the bottom 20 per cent of workers with degrees earned less than the average of people educated up to A-level standard between October and December.

The lowest 15 per cent with a degree earned less than those with just GCSE level qualifications.