Young persons who are not in employment nor in education and training are at risk of becoming socially excluded - persons with incomes below the poverty-line and lacking the skills to improve their economic situation.
The indicator presents the share of youths who are not in education and training nor in employment, as a percentage of the total number of youths in the corresponding age group. Youths in education include those attending part-time as well as full-time education, but exclude those in non-formal education and in educational activities of very short duration. Employment is defined according to the ILO Guidelines and covers all those who have worked for pay for at least one hour in the reference week of the survey.
The main problem of comparability is that, in some countries, youths performing compulsory military service are considered as being not in employment nor in education. However, the duration of military services is in most countries generally short; hence, the reallocation of military conscripts to the employment/education category would not change the figures shown here by much.
On average, 15% of the 20-to-24-year-olds were neither in school nor at work in 2007. Differences across countries are large: in Denmark, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway less than 9 % of youth were in this situation. The ratio is substantially higher in Italy, Poland, Slovak Republic, and the United Kingdom, where this share exceeded 18%, and in Turkey, where the share exceeded 40%. For the OECD as a whole, the share of youths aged 20-to-24-year-old who are not in employment nor in education has declined over time, mainly reflecting the fact that young people, and particularly females, spend more time in education than they did a decade ago. The share of youths who are not in education nor in employment was twice as high for youths aged 20 to 24 (14.9%) than for those aged 15 to 19 (7.2%). This share is even higher among people aged 25 to 29 (17% in 2007).
In most countries, a smooth transition from school to work is highly dependent on the business cycle and on economic conditions. When these conditions worsen, youths making their transition from school to work are the first affected. This is because, when employers are shedding workers, it is often impossible for young individuals to get a foothold in the labour market, as they compete for jobs with more experienced workers. Also, when employment rates drop, people's incentives to stay longer in school become stronger, as the potential earnings that students forego while studying will in many cases be close to zero. In this context, it is important for education systems to ease conditions of access to education and training and to make additional resources available to educational institutions.