If you are a young mother in the UK seeking work, then you're in the worst country in the developed world to do so, according to a new report.
Women in the UK are on average, 1.4 times more likely not to be in education, employment or training (NEET), said the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The organisation said that being a women adds to the risk of becoming NEET, particularly on a long-term as young women care for children and other family members at home.
The report, Society at a Glance 2016, said: “For many of them, this is because they are looking after small children and the high cost of childcare is a major barrier to employment.
“In the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom and New Zealand, childcare costs for a lone parent can account for between one-third and a half of net income.”
The report found single parents find it particularly hard to look for employment or further education as it’s hard to combine it with caring for children, highlighting how the availability of affordable childcare is crucial to improving young women’s job prospects.
Findings also revealed one-fifth of all young people spent more than a year as NEETs, and countries hit by the 2008 financial crisis have a higher share of long-term NEETs.
Looking back at the crisis, the OECD said almost one out of every ten jobs held by workers under 30 were destroyed. In Spain, Greece and Ireland, the number of employed youth halved.
The OECD report said: “Job and income uncertainty can keep young people from reaching other traditional markers of adulthood, leaving them disenchanted and discouraged.
“It can also have serious long-term effects on health, fertility and crime, and eventually endanger social cohesion.”
Low skills have made young people particularly vulnerable, as those with no more than lower-secondary education account for over 30% of NEETs, and are three times more likely to be NEET than those with a university degree.
However, the UK had one of the lowest rates of youth unemployment and was more successful than most large economies in allowing young people to combine work and education, beating Germany, the US, Sweden, France and Japan.
Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece are the worst in offering young people work and education, also resulting in the highest number of NEETs.
Stefano Scarpetta, the OECD’s director of employment said: “It is getting harder and harder for young people with low skills to find a job, let alone a steady job in today’s workplace.
“Unless more is done to improve opportunities in education and training for everyone, there is a growing risk of an increasingly divided society.”