Almost half of young people fear there will be fewer jobs in the next few years, hitting their levels of confidence and happiness, a new study shows.
Research by The Prince's Trust found that concerns about job prospects are playing on the minds of 16 to 25-year-olds.
A survey of almost 2,200 young people, published ahead of the latest unemployment figures on Wednesday, also revealed that one in four of those in work felt "trapped" in jobs they didn't want.
Almost one in three said they were having to take any job they could, rather than focus on developing their career.
Almost half feared there will be fewer jobs for their generation in the next three years.
More than a quarter of young people are working part-time, one in 10 are on zero hours contracts and one in eight have two or more jobs, the research showed.
Nick Stace, UK chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "This report highlights a staggering deterioration in young people's confidence in themselves and in their future.
"The cliff edge decline in young people not feeling in control of their lives echoes conversations we have every day with young people who speak of their fears about finding work, taking short term jobs over longer term careers and the knock on effect of heightened uncertainty in the economy.
David Fass, chief executive of the Macquarie Group - which helped with the research, added: "It is concerning to find that so many young people feel out of control and trapped in a cycle of unrewarding jobs."
A Local Government Association spokesman said: "This research raises a number of genuine concerns about the future employment prospects for young people.
"By 2024 there will be more than four million too few high-skilled people to take up available jobs and more than six million too many low-skilled workers. Failure to address these gaps could lead to young people trapped in jobs they don't want, without the skills needed to progress.
"Devolving apprenticeships and funding to the local areas in which they are used will allow better co-ordination of services to help young people get the skills they need to progress in work, and supply businesses with the right skills at the right time to help local economies grow, rather than training people for a role that may not exist."