Fifteen percent of the OECD youth population were not in employment, education or training (NEET) in 2015 – about 40 million young people. More than two-thirds of them were not actively looking for work. The total gross income that could have been generated by NEETs in 2014 is estimated to have been between USD 360-605 billion, or 0.9-1.5% of OECD-wide GDP. Job and income uncertainty can keep young people from reaching other traditional markers of adulthood, leaving them disenchanted and discouraged. It can also have serious long-term effects on health, fertility and crime, and eventually endanger social cohesion. Helping young people transition into further education or employment is therefore at the top of the policy agenda in the OECD as evidenced by the G20 target of reducing the number of youth who are low-skilled, NEET or working in the informal sector by 15% until 2025.
One in ten jobs have been destroyed since 2007
Almost one out of every ten jobs held by workers under 30 were destroyed between 2007 and 2014. In Spain, Greece and Ireland, the number of employed youth halved. Young people who had left school at lower-secondary level bore the brunt of these job losses. And while some countries have managed to restore youth employment to pre-crisis levels, the recovery has been too weak to significantly improve young people’s prospects in many countries.