The European Union totals almost 90 million people aged 15-29, representing 17% of its population. These young people are in very different situations, with education and employment patterns varying considerably between Member States and by age group.
On the eve of United Nation’s International Youth Day, which is celebrated each year on 12 August, Eurostat has released information on the education and employment situation of young people in Europe. More information about the situation of young people is found in its statistical publication “Being young in Europe, 2015”.
The International Youth Day was first observed in 2000 and aims at promoting ways to engage young people in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.
According to Eurostat, the age of 15 (or 16 in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) marks the beginning of the working age while after the age of 18 compulsory schooling ends in all European countries.
Young people neither in employment nor in education and training (NEETs) are defined as the percentage of the young population that is both not employed and not involved in further education and training. The percentage increases considerably with age.
Particularly for people aged 25–29, access to the labour market is essential for entering independent life. The average NEET rate, which stood at 6.3% for the age group 15-19 in 2015, almost tripled to 17.3% for the age group 20-24 and reached 19.7 % in the age group 25-29.
As for the 25–29 age group, the education and employment situation has remained relatively stable at EU level over the last ten years. Only the proportion of those exclusively in employment saw a small and gradual fall from 62 % in 2004 to 57 % in 2013.
Looking at individual EU Member States the highest NEET rate for the age group 25 – 29 was recorded in Greece (42 %), followed by Italy (33 %) and Bulgaria (32 %). The lowest rates were found in Sweden (9 %), Austria (10 %) and Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (all three with 11 %).
Potentially any type of education or training (formal or non-formal) should improve skills and employability. People who are neither in employment nor in education and training are often disconnected from the labour market and have a higher risk of not finding a job, which could lead to poverty or social exclusion, comments Eurostat.
The Brussels Times (Source: Eurostat)