What is NEET?
We use the word NEET to describe young people who are Not in Education, Employment, or Training. This data can be useful when looking at unemployment statistics, or when trying to improve youth employment rates, as in the M.O.T.H.E.R. project.
Unemployment situation in Hungary
The general employment statistics in Hungary improved from 2010. The employment rate of the 15-39-year-old population has increased from 53.0% to 62.5% between 2009 and 2019. The employment rate improved in every type of settlement/area. At the same time this improvement in the statistics is mostly due to community work in marginalized regions, mostly rural areas, and most of the time this is not the first choice when it comes to employment choices on the labor market.
The NEET situation in Hungary before COVID
The rate of NEET young people in Hungary also shows an improvement of 40% between 2009 and 2019. In Hungary, NEET Youth are faced with many problems, including social exclusion, lack of opportunities (e.g., education, health, infrastructure, public transport, labor market conditions), low socio-economic status, and, a lack of relationships outside the enclosed settlements.
There are certain risk factors that can lead to young people becoming NEETs. In Hungary, the most frequent risk factors are: a socio-economically disadvantageous environment; low levels of education and schooling problems; lack of proper housing; financial problems; learning difficulties; dissatisfaction with the school; socio-emotional disorders; delinquency; health problems; homelessness; and, drug or alcohol abuse.
After the 2008 economic crisis, young people under 25 were one of the most affected age groups. There are multiple reasons for this. Firstly, young people ore the ones who leave a company the easiest. Secondly, employers lay off those first who are less experienced, or only have short term employment contracts. These factors are not ones that young people can change themselves. Employers also acknowledge that young people are cheaper to layoff.
The NEET situation in Hungary since COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on all economic activities and employment rates, not only in Hungary, but globally. The data for youth unemployment rate rose from 14% in 2019 before the pandemic, to around 18% in 2021. However, some improvements can be seen from 18,2% in April of 2021 the youth unemployment rate decreased to 17,3% in May of 2021.
The situation is given; we can see that in some cases we cannot do anything about layoffs. But there are also different reasons for a young person not being employed or in education. Sometimes young people do not get proper information about their options, and they don’t know what they would like to do. In other cases they do not have the proper skills or education to be qualified for a position. In many cases these are digital skills, which are needed in the digital world after COVID.
There are multiple solutions and possibilities for improving youth unemployment. The main objective of the M.O.T.H.E.R. project is also to help these young people acquire the proper skill and knowledge to find better employment, and lower youth unemployment rates.
The European Union also has multiple programs that aim to lower youth unemployment rates.
Lili Perényi-Harka – Ecocenter Team
Rural neets in Hungary: