U.K. Can Lift Output by Finding More Jobs for Young People: PwC

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. economy could get a 40 billion-pound ($51 billion) boost every year by creating more jobs for young people.

That would be the benefit of reducing the percentage of the young not in employment, education or training to a level similar to Germany, a report by PwC said on Tuesday. The U.K. ranks 19th among the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

The country has made progress, with the number of 16-to-24-year-olds classified as so-called NEETs down to 760,000 from almost 1 million in late 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics. Still, as the departure from the European Union next year threatens to curb workers from other countries, the need to create more jobs and train the local population is becoming more urgent.

Young people should focus on skills that machines will find hard to replicate as an era of increased automation sets in, said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC. Employers should work with universities and schools, as well as prepare older workers to adopt new technologies, he said.

Countries in the OECD have varied statistics for NEETs, ranging from around 6 percent in Iceland to more than 30 percent in Italy and Turkey for 20-24 year-olds, the report said. The group could add $1.2 trillion to its combined output by reducing those figures to Germany’s level.

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