A transnational assessment of the NEETs’ phenomenon in EU:

Evidences, findings and results from the SPECIAL project

NEETs are a heterogeneous group that faces certain barriers in the labour market. For example, the transition phase of life, lack or limited work experience are just some of the obstacles that young people may face in the labour market.

A significant problem facing young people in Europe today is the lack of professional opportunities for people without higher education. This refers to the fact that some of the lowest positions in the structure of the organization require higher education, although it is not relevant to the job itself. This can be a problem for young people who, cause of some reason, do not have the opportunity to study.

Some young simply do not have the means to finance their studies or maybe live in rural or remote areas or are disabled or for some other reason have limited access to high-quality education and training and social services. They are more likely to have future unemployment or reduced levels of future earnings.

Besides that, the problem can be a lack of information about opportunities available to young. While on the other hand, harmful childhood experiences such as parental mental illness, divorce, and domestic violence impact result in a loss of confidence in other people and limited opportunities for those young people. Loss of motivation is a problem that young people often face.

Moreover, some individuals stop looking for work due to a long period of job search and/or numerous rejections. They, same as young people who have lost faith in institutions, are unable to use their potential to help society.

The increase in the number of NEETs was led by the economic crisis of 2008-2013, as well as the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in an increase in the rate to 15.2% in 2020 compared to a 14% in 2019. Some of determinants that result in a high proportion of young people who are not in employment, education, or training are:

  • the inability to study at a higher institution for financial or other reasons,
  • living in a rural or remote areas
  • care for family members (this applies especially to women)
  • adverse childhood experiences like domestic violence or divorce
  • illness, disability
  • loss of motivation due to a long period of job search and/or numerous rejections

Based on all of the above, the SPECIAL project (an international initiative co-financed by the E+ programme of the European Commission) aims at developing new education and teaching tools available to professional of the education and training ecosystem to better engage young people while supporting and sustaining their (re)integration in the labour market and in society in general.

The full report is available for free and in multilanguage version via the official Open Education Resource Platform of the project: