Youth employment and social policies


Successful engagement of young people in the labour market and society is crucial not only for their own personal economic prospects and well-being, but also for overall economic growth and social cohesion. Investing in youth is therefore a policy priority for the OECD. Through adequate skills, employment, social and broader policy settings, young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and maintain confidence in their future prospects. 

In June 2022, the Recommendation on Creating Better Opportunities for Young People was adopted. This legal document – agreed to by all OECD countries – outlines how countries can implement government-wide strategies to support young people, including through skills, education, employment, social and public governance policies. It builds on the Updated OECD Youth Action Plan from June 2021, and draws on the perspectives raised by young people themselves in a youth consultation organised in September 2021. An upcoming OECD Youth Policy Toolkit will provide hands-on practical guidance to improve the design and implementation of youth policies, with good practice examples from OECD member countries.

Supporting implementation of youth policies

The OECD provides technical support to countries that are seeking to reform their youth policy systems. Several projects are implemented in collaboration with the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) of the European Commission. Ongoing and forthcoming projects related to employment and social policies for young people include:

Monitoring & Evaluation

The OECD provides technical support and guidance to OECD governments for the development and implementation of Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) frameworks for youth policies:

Assisting care leavers 

Young adults, who have lived in out-of-home care at some point during their childhood often struggle to build stable lives. In response to their poor socio-economic outcomes, many agencies responsible for out-of-home placements are experimenting with transition programmes for young adults leaving care. See new analysis from the OECD that explores a range of policy areas and support that is key for improving care leavers’ transition to adulthood:

Investing in Youth country reviews

The Investing in Youth series builds on the OECD expertise on youth employment, social support and skills. The country reviews provide detailed assessments of education, employment and social policies from an international perspective, and offer tailored recommendations to help improve the school-to-work transition in each country. The series covers both OECD countries and key emerging economies.

Find out more data here...

Our employment database provides up-to-date statistics for making comparisons between countries, identifying trends over time as well as labour market outcomes by age.

Youth & COVID-19


At the OECD Youth Week 2021, a series of engaging discussions highlighted the urgent need to invest in young people as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch recordings of the session here (20-24 September 2021). See more analysis on youth and COVID-19:

OECD work on youth for the G20

The OECD supports the G20 in the area of jobs, labour market policies and inclusive growth by identifying relevant responses to the jobs crisis, strategies to promote a job-rich recovery and a more inclusive type of economic growth. The OECD has made significant contributions to G20 work on youth employment, in co-operation with the ILO: 

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