Helping a lost and forgotten generation

This is the latest of our NI Futures series, in which we examine a range of public policy issues that are central to Northern Ireland’s (NI) future prosperity and wellbeing.

It is clear that in a difficult labour market, young people are finding it more challenging than ever to gain a foothold.

One in eight young people in Northern Ireland aged 16-19 are classed as not in education, employment or training (NEET) and, as the number of young people opting for a university education declines, the pressure on school leavers to enter the job market increases. Those within the NEETs groups applying for jobs, even unskilled jobs, are now in competition with recent graduates for posts.

For the individual, the long term direct implications of early alienation from the labour market include wage scarring and reduced job prospects. For the economy, lost productivity and increased social security payments are but two concerning factors.

It is recognised that addressing the issues now, and preventing them in the futures, will not be without challenges. This paper sets out PwC's thinking on the causes of the problem and, importantly what can be done about it.

Dr David Armstrong speaks to the BBC about our findings