New figures released today revealing that more than a fifth of adults in the UK are not actively looking to work, underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive Government strategy to address workforce preparation and training.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) said: “New figures released today reveal a worryingly high economic inactivity rate, largely driven by increases in inactivity for those aged between 16-24 years. This underscores the pressing need for a comprehensive long-term workforce strategy from the Government. The new data showed that more than a fifth of adults in the UK were not to be actively looking for work between November 2023 and January 2024. When coupled with the fact that skills gaps are persistently high, and we have approximately 1 million vacancies, it’s starkly evident that our workforce needs significant preparation for the future. Without assistance, our nation’s young people will continue to face unemployment, and employers will lose out on the innovative, talented workforce they crucially need to recover.”

Marshall concluded: “We are calling on the Government to introduce a cohesive plan that involves all stakeholders: the education and training sector, as well as businesses. Without such a strategy, we risk exacerbating the challenges of skill gaps and unemployment, hindering our nation’s economic growth and resilience.”