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Nearly 3.5 million UK working age people have never had a job, report says

The proportion of people of working age who have never been in a job has increased by 50% over the past two decades, a new study suggests.

According to think tank Resolution Foundation, 8.2% of people aged 16-64 in the UK today (3.4 million in total) have never had a paid job.

This is a 50% increase since 1998 when 5.4% had never worked.

Its report said the employment rate of 16 to 17-year-olds has virtually halved over the past two decades - from 48.1% in 1997-99 to 25.4% in 2017-19.

Two-thirds of the fall is driven by a declining employment rate among 16 to 17-year-olds at school or college, it was indicated.

Laura Gardiner, research director at the Resolution Foundation, said: "More and more of us are now working, with employment hitting record highs and worklessness hitting record lows.

"But despite this, around one in 12 working-age adults have never worked a day in their lives - a 50% increase since the late 1990s.

"The rising number of people who have never had a paid job has been driven by the death of the teenage Saturday job and a wider turn away from earning while learning.

"With young people today expected to end their working lives at a later age than previous generations, it's understandable that they want to start their working lives at a later age too.

"But this lack of work experience can create longer-term problems, particularly if they hit other life milestones like motherhood or ill-health before their careers have got off the ground."

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