There is a big debate going on about the so-called lost generation: a group supposedly scarred for life by the experience of long-term unemployment before the age of 25.

But here is a new term: stalled generation. That is the description devised by ProjectScotland for those aged between 25 and 30, who have yet to make the transition into what most of us would define as adult life, and whose features in normal circumstances include permanent appropriate employment, settled personal relationships and independent living.

Are long-term trends, combined with the current economic situation and narrowly focused Government policy, creating a group that is stranded between adolescence and adulthood? Many are stuck in the low-pay, no-pay cycle. With "overqualified" graduates driven back on insecure, part-time work, there is a displacement effect that leaves many less-skilled young people in the Catch 22 situation of needing experience to get work but chasing jobs without the experience they can secure only by having worked.

Instead of settling down and becoming parents, increasing numbers in their late 20s are still living at home with their own parents, draining the older generation's increasingly slender resources. As austerity bites and the pensions crisis crystalises, the scope for falling back on "the bank of mum and dad" is going to recede further.

During the Labour years, help was focused on child and pensioner poverty, leaving young single adults comparatively worse off. Under-30s, especially women, have also fared worse than older workers in the current recession. This partly reflects the shortage of job opportunities in the public sector.

Welfare cuts, particularly big cuts in housing benefit for under-35s, have made matters worse. And employment schemes from both the UK and Scottish governments focus on under-25s. The problem is partly semantic. Terms like "young people" and "youth unemployment" have a sharp cut-off at 25.

The most obvious solution, one suggested by the ProjectScotland report, is to extend youth employment schemes to late 20-somethings. The problem is that unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds remains shockingly high, even if full-time students are removed from the figures. (And, of course, many full-time students need to work to support themselves.) Government schemes are already struggling with the scale of the problem and stretching these budgets further risks diluting their already limited effect. Of course it could be argued that if the Government made good on its promise to cut down tax evasion and avoidance by the super rich, more funds would be available, but there is little sign of that any time soon.

That is not tantamount to saying that nothing can be done for the stalled generation. ProjectScotland, the national volunteering programme for young people, has already extended its own activities to include all under-30s. Events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games will offer opportunities for those younger adults trying to get into the world of work.

More Government policy and projects should be designed against the backdrop of the need to help smooth the transition of this stalled minority of under-30-year-olds into adulthood. The Scottish Government could help by making sure policymakers have the right evidence base, in the form of high quality longitudinal studies that chart the challenges faced by today's 20-somethings. Never had it so good? They have rarely had it so bad.