Eurofound has identified seven groups within the category of NEET (aged 15–24) and using EU-LFS data has calculated the size of each. These groups are described below.
Taken together, the figures for discouraged workers, the short- and long-term unemployed, and re-entrants suggest that around 60% belong to the NEETs group because of labour market factors. The remaining 40% are NEET for reasons more closely related to their social or personal circumstances, such as family responsibilities, illness or disability. This breakdown also highlights that a least one-third of NEETs are at risk of further disengagement, taking account of just the long-term unemployed and discouraged workers. However, this estimate is at the low end because the degree of vulnerability of young people in the other categories is not known.
In addition, the classification presented here reflects the composition of NEETs at European level – individual Member States differ not just in terms of size of the NEET population but also in terms of its composition. For example, in Sweden, long-term unemployed and discouraged workers account for just 10% of NEETs, while in Italy they represent 42%.
Under the Youth Guarantee, the EU’s ambitious scheme for tackling youth unemployment, since January 2014, around 9 million young people have secured an offer of employment, education or training. It has been most effective in reaching and reintegrating young people who are job-ready; other groups within the NEET category have been harder to reach. The European Commission, reporting on the progress of the Youth Guarantee in autumn 2016, recognised this: ‘young people in the most vulnerable situations, including the low-skilled and non-registered NEETs, are under- represented among beneficiaries’. It also acknowledged that broader educational interventions and more intensified support is necessary to address their needs.