The proportion of people relocating within the UK for a new job has fallen by 25% since the turn of the millennium, a study reveals.
A report by the think-tank Resolution Foundation found the share of under-35s moving regions and changing jobs has fallen by 20% during the same period.
The percentage of graduates willing to relocate for work has almost halved since 2001.
Overall, the share of the population prepared to switch both region and employer has fallen from 0.8% to 0.6%.
The reluctance of younger people to move for work is particularly surprising given they are the demographic that benefit the most from doing so.
Workers who move typically end up being paid more – about £2,000 a year on average. They would also be £320 better off than someone who moved jobs but remained in the same region.
According to the study, under-30s who move region and employer can expect a pay rise of about 11%.
The report said the decline in mobility could be down to it being easier for people to find jobs nearer to home, but it also coincides with an increase in the proportion of workers with degrees doing jobs they are underqualified for, “as workers fail to find jobs that best suit their talents”.
This has an impact on productivity and the economy, the report said.
Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Job mobility matters not just for the individual getting the pay rise but to our economy as a whole.
“On a basic level that’s about avoiding labour shortages, but more importantly in an economy nearing full employment, ensuring the talent and potential of individuals and firms doesn’t go to waste is essential to boosting productivity.”
The think-tank said migrants accounted for 8% of regional job-to-job moves in 1995, but now account for 24%.
It warned the Government “needs to be alive” to the impact of Brexit on labour mobility.