One Fifth of Young Romanians, Neither in Employment Nor in Education or Training
Last year, one fifth of young Romanian people were neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET), according to data compiled and published by Eurostat. It is the largest proportion in any EU Member State, well above the European average and the situation deteriorated in the last ten years, as opposed to the progress recorded in neighboring countries.
*In 2022, 11.7 % of 15-29 year-olds in the EU were neither in employment nor in education and training.
* The proportion of 15-29 year-olds in the EU neither in employment nor in education and training in 2022 ranged from 4.2 % in the Netherlands to 19.8 % in Romania.
Young people are changing jobs more frequently and it takes longer to get established in the labor market. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the transition from education to work is smooth and also to highlight the risks of being neither in employment nor in education or training. There are risks, both for the individual and in the long run for society, if young adults find themselves disengaged from both education and the labor market.
While background information is provided for those aged 15-34, the main age group that is studied consists of young adults aged 15 to 29. For this age group, the European Union has set an EU-level target stipulating that the share of young people neither in employment nor in education or training should be less than 9% by 2030. In 2022, an average of 11.7 % was identified as NEET within EU. However, there are significant differences between Member States.
The lowest rates were already below the target of 9.0 % and could be found in the Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Luxembourg, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, Germany and Ireland; this was also the case in Iceland and Norway. These countries thus reached the long-term EU-level target for 2030 in 2022 or earlier.
Furthermore, there were nine Member States that recorded NEET rates above the EU average of 11.7 % in 2022. Among these, the highest rates were recorded in Romania and Italy, where 19% or more of all young people aged 15–29 were neither in employment nor in education or training. A comparison between the two EU Member States with the highest and lowest NEET rates in 2022 reveals that the proportion of young adults who were NEETs was 4.7 times as high in Romania than in the Netherlands.
The overall share of NEETs decreased in the EU by 4.3 percentage points (pp) between 2012 and 2022. Among the EU Member States, the largest reduction by far in the NEET rates (in percentage point terms) between 2012 and 2022 was in Ireland (-12.9 pp.) followed by Greece (-11.4 pp.), Bulgaria (-9.6 pp.) and Spain (-9.5 pp.). There were only two Member States that had increases in their NEET rates since 2012, these countries were: Austria (0.9 pp., but still below the European goal set for 2030) and Romania (0.5 pp.).
Worth noting, in 2012, Bulgaria had a higher NEET rate than Romania but now is down to 15%. Hungary, which had a comparable NEET rate, managed to decrease it in just ten years to the EU average. That meant that it could have been done here as well, but no appropriate measures were implemented.
NEET rates in the EU Member States for people aged 15–29 with a low level of education ranged from 5.6 % in the Netherlands to 31.6 % in Romania in 2022. Looking more closely at these figures, seven countries had higher NEET rates than the average for the EU and these countries were: Slovakia (15.1 %), Hungary (15.2 %), Malta (16.0 %), Spain (17.0 %), Italy (19.4 %), Bulgaria (21.5 %) and Romania (31.6 % !!). This means that we have a very big problem with the young people who are poorly educated and outside the labor market.
In 2022, there were two EU Member States where the proportion of young female NEETs was at least 10 percentage points (pp.) higher than the corresponding share for young men. The largest difference was found in Czechia (11.0 pp.), closely followed by Romania (10.9 pp.). However, four countries had higher NEET rates for men compared to women but to a much lesser extent. Estonia had the largest difference; here the share for men was 2.7 pp. higher than for women, followed by Finland, Luxembourg, and Belgium.
In 2022, the NEET rate for young people aged 15–19 was lower for women than it was for men in all of the EU Member States except in Romania, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Malta, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Among people aged 20–24, the picture was more mixed and 13 Member States had a lower NEET rate for women compared to men, while 14 Member States had a higher NEET rate for women. Furthermore, there were large differences between the countries, the Netherlands only had 0.2 pp. difference between the sexes while Romania reported the largest difference; here the NEET rate for women was 13.3 percentage points higher than the corresponding rate for men.
Photo source: pxhere.com.