Women unemployed
Professor Sue Maguire argued that more research needs to be done into female Neets (Reuters)

Hundreds of thousands of young women have never had a job and will find it hard to get one because of school and societal problems, according to research by the Financial Times (FT) and the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The organisations' analysis argued that young women make up the majority of young people not in employment, education or training (Neets).

The research cited figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which state that there are more than 500,000 female Neets.

The study argued that female workplace participation is low because of early motherhood, lack of engagement at school and family traditions of female unemployment.

"The system of wage incentives for employers to hire young people is likely to benefit those closest to the labour market, at the expense of those with multiple barriers to employment," Spencer Thompson, an economic analyst at the IPPR who carried out the research, told the FT.

"Greater support for costs of childcare may be crucial to allow [female Neets] access to training, work experience and employment" he added.

But Professor Sue Maguire, from the Centre for Education and Industry at the University of Warwick, warned that there needs to be more research conducted into female Neets.

"We need to really start unpacking what the true reasons are behind the female inactive population," Maguire stressed.

She added: "I don't accept it's all down to pregnancy and childcare. I think it may be linked in some way to the types of benefits that young women have been encouraged to apply for, rather than young men."

Maguire explained that the lack of understanding in the labour market population was very good before 2010, but has diminished because of a change of definitions.

"We've never had very sophisticated information about the post-18-year-old Neet group," Maguire added.

"Traditionally, young people over the age of 18 were not called Neets, they were called unemployed.

"Subsequently, we have a wealth of research evidence around the under-18 Neet group, but we don't have very much at all on the post-18 Neet group."

The research findings follow news that UK unemployment has fallen to a rate of 7.7% for the first time since late 2012, according to the ONS.

The body also found that there were 8.96 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 33,000 from February to April 2013 and down 52,000 from July 2012.