Young People Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET): Concepts, Consequences and Policy Approaches


  • Paul Redmond Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Ciara McFadden Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain


Young people that are not in employment, education or training (NEET) may face increased poverty risk, social exclusion, labour market scarring and adverse health consequences. Reducing the number of NEETs is a major policy priority in the European Union. The target of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan is to reduce the NEET rate to 9 per cent by 2030, and this is supported by a considerable amount of EU funding. In this paper, we begin by discussing the NEET concept, paying particular attention to the heterogeneity of individuals contained within this group. We then review the international literature on the causes and consequences of NEET status. Following this, we provide an overview of the evidence on policy interventions targeting NEETs, with a particular focus on the recent literature on labour market activation in Ireland. Tailoring policies towards NEETs is difficult due to the heterogeneity within this group, and as such, we discuss specific policies that may be targeted towards different NEET subgroups. Finally, we discuss emerging labour market trends and their potential impact on NEETs. We begin by discussing the potential impact of technological change on NEETs, before moving on to more specific areas including the green economy, remote working, and the platform economy. The evidence on their impact is relatively underdeveloped and represents an important avenue for future research.






Policy Section Articles