Not in education or employment: What's the problem?

Addressing the challenge of NEETS in the EU and beyond

Addressing the challenge of NEETS in the EU and beyond

Tackling the ever increasing challenge of young people not engaged in education, employment or training (NEETs) in the EU as well as in the neighbouring regions, the latest episode of the Skills Factory podcast involved Ummuhan Bardak, Expert on Labour Market Policies at the European Training Foundation, who shares updated research and expertise on the issue, its causes and future possible solutions.

“NEETs is a relatively new concept, not much used during the last two decades but now used as an indicator for understanding the wellbeing of youth” said Bardak.

According to statistics, the percentage of NEETs differs according to geographical location and socioeconomic context. For example, in 2019, the share of NEETs within the EU was 10%, with the lowest share in northern countries like Sweden and Denmark and highest share in Italy, Greece and Spain, at times reaching even 30%.

“Having high number of young people in this specific situation means there is a waste of young resources which could be used more efficiently either by training them better or by putting them in jobs that could contribute to the economy” added Bardak.

The episode also identifies the factors that are contributing to a worsening of the problem, not only in EU countries but also in neighbouring areas.

“The problem is exacerbated by other factors related to facilitating the transition from school to work such as a lack of support systems for career guidance and counselling, on-the-job training, work-based learning practises and the placement of young jobseekers in decent jobs. It is the whole system of labour markets and education system together which need to be combined” explained Bardak.

While the problem of NEETs is certainly related to education and employment regulations, gender is also a significant factor, with the latest figures confirming that women are more likely to be affected. 

Based on years of experience in this field, Bardak underscores the need, more than ever, to support  policymakers in the design and implementation of better policy interventions that serve the more vulnerable sectors of society and meet their needs for economic empowerment and social welfare.

This episode is the 18th episode broadcast by the European Training Foundation as part of its monthly Skills Factory Podcast series, which aims to raise awareness of issues related to human capital development, education, training and skills development in the EU neighbourhood.

Listen to the episode:


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