Ivan Menezes

Diageo boss Ivan Menezes has added his voice to a chorus of industry leaders calling for action on youth unemployment in the UK.

The spirits giant head has joined Movement to Work, a collaboration of UK CEOs from the likes of HSBC, M&S, IBM and Starbucks, in urging the government to endeavour to help the 790,000 young people out of work in the country.

It was “a scandalous waste of talent that 790,000 young people in the UK are currently not in education, employment or training” he said, adding Brexit was “an opportunity” to get young people into work.

“Brexit will likely reduce the ability of business to hire workers from elsewhere in the EU, so it is both a moral and business imperative to help our young people take that vital first step into the job market.”

The coalition has also urged the government to create greater flexibility around how the Apprenticeship Levy can be invested in pre-apprenticeship training for unemployed young people.

If follows Diageo’s announcement earlier this month that it plans to become “the best employer for women in the UK” as it made public its gender pay gap statistics, which revealed a median pay gap of 8.6% between men and women across its GB and Scottish operations, far below the national average of 18.8%.

It was also named one of the top-ranking FTSE 100 companies for gender parity in the boardroom, with four female directors and one female executive director, CFO Kathryn Mikells, and is poised to achieve full boardroom gender parity next year when ex-Xerox Corporation chair Ursula Burns joins as a non-executive director.

Read more: Diageo plans to become ‘best employer for women in the UK’