Five years of "empty promises" have left young jobseekers facing a postcode lottery when it comes to finding employment, according to a study.
Researchers at education specialists Ambitious Minds found evidence of a north-south divide, with youngsters in Scotland and the north east of England facing the worst prospects.
Meanwhile, London and the south east have seen youth unemployment rates fall.
The study warns that teenagers who finished school this year have seen the most "dramatic" changes to their prospects and expectations than any other secondary school year group for 70 years.
When they began their education, and when they started secondary school, unemployment rates were low.
But the last five years have brought "economic deterioration, systemic failures, false dawns and empty promises," the study says.
The organisation looked at the impact of the recession on job prospects and found hotspots of youth unemployment throughout the UK, based on published figures.
Scotland is among several UK regions which all recorded rises in youth unemployment twice as large as those in London and the south east, it claims.
North Ayrshire was the second-worst affected area in the entire UK, after it saw youth unemployment rise from 6.5% to 12.6%. The rate of young claimants in Scotland also rose by 3.5 percentage points between 2007 and 2012, the report says.
Overall, the north east of England has seen the largest rise in jobless young people.
At the other end of the scale, London saw an increase of 1.4 percentage points, and in the south east there was a rise of 1.6 percentage points.
Sean McGuire, chief executive of Ambitious Minds, said: "Those areas which have suffered disproportionately in the last five years need support to prevent unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment, becoming normalised.
"As the economy stagnates, young people and the organisations which support them must understand and grapple with the employment issues that are facing them."
Recent official unemployment figures showed that in the three months to June, 1.01 million 16-to-24-year-olds in the UK were considered out of work, down 4000 down on the previous three months.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Scotland has an overall lower rate of unemployment than the rest of the UK as well as a higher youth employment rate. Sixteen to 24-year-olds have also seen the largest increase in employment of any key age group - up by 10,000 - over the last year.
"Last year saw record numbers of pupils leaving school for positive destinations such as training, employment or further study. We have also guaranteed every 16 to 19-year-old a place in learning or education though Opportunities For All, and will continue discussions with employers on how young people can help grow their business."