Around 3.6 million UK adults have never done paid work, a study suggests.
Analysis by the Office for National Statistics indicated that despite record levels of employment, almost one in 10 people aged 16 to 64 have never been paid for work.
Young people, including students, make up most of the figure, said the ONS.
The number of people who have never had a paid job has increased by 270,000 in the past decade, mainly driven by a rise in those who are studying, said the report.
Young people who have never done paid work are more likely to stay in full-time education and less likely to be seeking work than they were 10 years ago, the study found.
Since 2008, there has been a 15% increase in the number of 16 to 24-year-olds who are studying and yet to do paid work, which has coincided with a 28% fall in those outside full-time education who are unemployed and have never had a paid job.
There has also been a significant rise in the number of long-term sick who have never carried out paid work, said the ONS.
There has been a 19% reduction in the number of women with a young child who have never done paid work.
The study covered people who said they had never had paid work, apart from casual or holiday work.