NEETs during crisis

In the wake of economic crisis, the number of NEETs in many countries tend to rose as a result of sweeping job losses. With a record number of NEETs following the financial and economic crisis in the late 2000s, there have been concerns among policymakers that a whole generation of young people in the EU could remain out of the labour market for years to come. The implications of this are two-fold: on a personal level, these individuals are more likely to become disenfranchised and to suffer from poverty and social exclusion, while at a macro-economic level they represent a considerable loss in terms of unused productive capacity and a considerable cost in terms of welfare payments.

According to Eurostat report, during the period 2008-2019, there was a rapid increase of NEET between 2008 and 2009 due to the financial and economic crisis; a more gradual increase through to 2013; and a reduction in the rate from 2014 onwards. The latest data available for 2019 shows that NEET rates in the EU were 14.5 % for people aged 20–24, 17.2 % for those aged 25–29, and 17.4 % for those aged 30–34. However, statistics for the ongoing 2020 and the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has on NEETs will be available next year. 

When talking about NEETs, we need to consider that there is a considerable difference between the sexes in relation to the proportion of young people who were neither in employment nor in education and training. Some of the factors that may explain this gender gap are social conventions or pressures, which tend to place a higher importance on women’s role within the family and on men’s role in the workplace; careers advice, which may reinforce gender segregation and direct women into a relatively narrow range of occupations; labour market issues, such as: employers preferring to hire young men over young women; young women facing assimilation difficulties when returning to work after childbirth; young women being more likely to have low-paid jobs or precarious employment.