Apologies to young people if this seems like a stupid question. The more obvious brakes on entry to education/employment now could include:
From 1998, student loans for tuition fees
A continuing mismatch between the qualifications available and the needs of the job market
A continuing lack of vocational education (and funding for it)
A lack of employers willing to train new recruits (particularly public sector ones post-recession)
Lack of well paid and secure employment, due to cyclical/structural changes in the jobs market (structural= technology/globalisation/immigration?)
Not enough older workers retiring, or being laid off in the latest recession (the IFS says this relationship is a myth – “Releasing Jobs for the Young? Early Retirement and Youth Unemployment in the United Kingdom, James Banks, Richard Blundell, Antoine Bozio and Carl Emmerson, IFS, July 2008)
Job mobility issues, particularly relating to house prices in the SE
Due to lack of time, I’m going to skip research on this question for now [but see my next blog posting about the evidence] and use my own personal experience of 4 years of youth worklessness during the worst period for UK youth unemployment – the 1980’s. I don’t think that NEETs were/are really aware of the increase in inequality during the late 1970’s to early 1990’s. Like the proverbial frog in the pan of water, the heating was gradual and (unlike the frog) you got used to it.
Changes to higher education funding, and the removal of government subsidy for youth employment in times of recession have made things worse since the 1980’s. Had I not benefitted from a year of subsidised work, and 5 years of free university tuition (partly under the Scottish system), I might never have had a decent career.