Youth unemployment and inactivity

A comparison of school-to-work transitions and labour market outcomes in four Nordic countries

image of Youth unemployment and inactivity

Young people follow highly different trajectories from age 16 up to age 20, a time period which is often argued to be the most critical in terms of their future labour market outcomes. The focus of this report is on investigating the look of these early pathways, as well as on exploring their link to labour market outcomes in adulthood. Results are reported and compared for four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.



School-to-work trajectories: common Nordic cluster results

The previous chapter has shown that the trajectories through upper secondary education are, generally speaking, highly similar for young people in the four Nordic countries under study. Apart from certain country-specific particularities, the following picture emerges: a large majority of Nordic youth enters a study track after completing compulsory school and only a smaller share of them follows pathways dominated by activities outside both education and employment, i.e. so-called NEET activities. By and large, this holds true also for the category of noncompleters, that is, young people who have not completed an upper secondary education still at age 21. Moreover, a comparison across cohorts reveals that there has, in all four Nordic countries, been a notable increase in the share of young people following study-dominated tracks. This convergence over time in early school-to-work trajectories is, in effect, discernible also among the non-completers. Put differently, increasing shares of also non-completers spend most, or all, of their time up to age 20 as full-time students, but without completing an upper secondary degree within five years after leaving compulsory school.


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