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Youth employment


Investing in youth

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 a policy priority for the OECD. The economic crisis as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the urgency to give all young people the support they need and reinforce their confidence in their future prospects.

The Updated OECD Youth Action Plan

Countries have been trying to mitigate the impact on young people, but the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 crisis and broader societal trends require a more ambitious and comprehensive policy package to ensure no young person is left behind. Such package is particularly needed in those economies that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, or had not yet recovered fully from the global financial crisis.

The Updated OECD Youth Action Plan provides the building blocks for improving support in key areas, including employment and education policies, social policies and public governance.

The hidden NEETs

On average across EU countries, only one third of young people who are unemployed or inactive contact public employment services on their own initiative. To reduce inactivity and unemployment among young people, it is important to better understand who does not reach out for support and why.

The OECD supports member countries to identify the hidden NEETs in their countries (those not in employment, education or training) and develop outreach strategies based on international good practice examples.

Assisting care leavers 

Young adults, who during their childhood were in care out of their homes and away from their families, 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 ageing out of care. However, a systematic overview of these programmes across OECD countries is not available. 

The OECD is working on a report to map existing policies and programmes across OECD countries, identify good practices and margins for improvement, and give concrete examples of promising policies.

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.

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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