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NEETs characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe,

Eurofund, 2012
According to Eurostat, in 2011, 7.5 million young people aged
1524 and an additional 6.5 million young people aged 2529
were excluded from the labor market and education in Europe.
This corresponds to a significant increase in the NEETS rate: in
2008, the figure stood at 11% of 1524-year-olds and 17% of 25
29-year-olds; by 2011 these rates had increased to 13% and 20%
In particular, rates of unemployment among young people with
tertiary education are very high in Greece (48.6%), Spain (35%),
Romania (29.4%), Portugal (29%) and Italy (27.1%). In all these
countries, the situation worsened considerably during the crisis.
Researchers, national authorities and international organizations
have started using alternative concepts and indicators for young
people who are disengaged from both work and education and
are arguably at a high risk of labor market and social exclusion.
In this framework, the term NEET (not in employment, education
or training) is increasingly used to refer to these young people.
The need to focus more on NEETs is now central to the European
policy debate, and the term is explicitly mentioned in the Europe
2020 agenda as well as in the 2012 Employment Package
Towards a job-rich recovery (European Commission, 2012a).
Most European countries defined NEET as young people aged
between 15 and 24 years who were not in employment,
education or training, and used national data from the Labour
Force Survey (LFS) to measure the phenomenon.
NEET versus youth unemployment: The youth unemployment
rate can be inflated by those who exit from the labour force, such
as those young people who decide to go back into education or
those who decide to not look for a job anymore as they believe
that there is no job for them. In contrast, the definition of NEET
captures all young people who are not in employment, education
or training. It records the share of the population of all young
people currently disengaged from the labour market and
education, namely unemployed and inactive young people who
are not in education or training. (see page 30, fig 16)
unavailable, disengaged, opportunity-seekers, voluntary NEETs.
Five main subgroups within the NEET population may be identified:
the conventionally unemployed, the largest subgroup, which can be

further subdivided into longterm and short-term unemployed;

the unavailable, which includes young carers, young people with
family responsibilities and young people who are sick or disabled;
the disengaged: those young people who are not seeking jobs or
education and are not constrained from doing so by other obligations
or incapacities, and takes in discouraged workers as well as other
young people who are pursuing dangerous and asocial lifestyles;
the opportunity-seekers: young people who are actively seeking
work or training, but are holding out for opportunities that they see as
befitting their skills and status;
the voluntary NEETs: those young people who are travelling and
those constructively engaged in other activities such as art, music and
self-directed learning.
The five categories identified above include a mix of vulnerable and
non-vulnerable young people.

Characteristics of Romanian NEETs: mostly female, inactive, no

work experience, high skilled, discouraged workers (those that
do not seek employment because they think there is none for

The entry of the concept of NEETs into the general policy

vocabulary is not straightforward, mainly due to limitations
grounded in the heterogeneity of the concept, which must be
taken into account when designing policies for effectively
reintegrating NEETs into the labour market or education.
Therefore, governments and social partners should implement
the overall targets they set for the reduction of the NEET rate
with targeted policies for different subgroups.
Factors increasing the probability of becoming NEETs:
-low educational level
-low household income
-living in remote areas
-difficult family environment
-immigration background
-suffering some kind of disability
NEETs are less engaged in social, civic & political life

A call to action on youth unemployment EC Communication,

In 2012: Youth Employment Package
In March 2013: 6 billion EUR for Youth Employment Initiative
Major recommendations include: investing in young people
through ESF; implementation of Youth Guarantee; intra-EU labor
mobility via EURES; facilitate transition from school to work
through ensuring high Quality Traineeships (see Council
Recommendation for a Framework on Quality Traineeships);
incentives for creation of SMEs and job creation for young
In 2012, the Commission established joint Youth Employment
Action Teams with the Member States experiencing particularly
high levels of youth unemployment. These teams worked to help
ensure that the EU structural funds are being used to maximum
effect to support young people. Through this work, about EUR 16
billion of EU funding has already been targeted for accelerated
delivery or reallocation. This will eventually help more than one
million young people and the results are already being felt on the
Specific country recommendation for RO: To fight youth
unemployment, implement without delay the National Plan for
Youth Employment, including for example through a Youth
Guarantee. Step up reforms in vocational education and training.
Further align tertiary education with the needs of the labour
market and improve access for disadvantaged people.
Implement a national strategy on early school leaving focusing
on better access to quality early childhood education, including
for Roma children.
Council conclusions on enhancing the social inclusion of young
NEETs, 25-26 Nov. 2013
in 2008, the figure stood at 11% of 15-24 year olds and 17 % of
25-29 year olds; by 2012 this had increased to 13 % and 20%
respectively (Eurostat)
Young people not in an employment, education or training
situation (hereinafter young people in a NEET situation) can
face negative social conditions, such as isolation, lack of
autonomy, involvement in risky behaviour, and unstable mental
and physical health, which expose them to higher risks of

unemployment and social exclusion later in life. Social exclusion

of young people, in particular young people in a NEET situation,
can have negative consequences for the economy and significant
costs for Europe. In 2011, the economic loss due to the
disengagement of young people from the labour market was 153
billion euro. This is a conservative estimate and corresponds to
1,2 % of EU GDP.
Risk factors that increase the danger of falling into a NEET
situation are often a combination of personal, economic,
educational and social circumstances. Youth work, voluntary
activities, active citizenship, and non-formal and informal
learning can play an important and complementary role by
bringing added value for all young people, especially those in a
NEET situation
Policy measures have to address the diversity of young people in
a NEET situation in terms of the stage when they have to
intervene, their range of aims, objectives and activities. Greater
attention is needed to address gender differences in education,
to social and employment policies as well as to young people
with special needs.
Promote access to adequate, affordable, accessible and high
quality services, such as early childhood education and care,
housing, health and social services to prevent young people
getting into or remaining in a NEET situation
Strengthen the capacity of youth organisations, youth work and
other forms of inclusion as a means of participation and use their
potential to foster the social inclusion of young people in a NEET