Why are NEET rates important?
Young people who are not in education, employment or training are often referred to as ‘NEET’ and regarded as disengaged from work and study. The proportion of young people in the NEET population can be regarded as an indicator of the smoothness of transition from education to work (NCVER: Stanwick et al. 2014).
While being part of the NEET population may indicate an intended break in the pathway from school to work, it can also reflect a mismatch between the skills of young people and the skills required by the labour market (OECD 2014), and/or a difficult labour market. Young people in the NEET population are at risk of becoming socially excluded, with income below the poverty line and without the skills to improve their economic situation (OECD 2014).
Do NEET rates vary across population groups?
In 2014, according to the ABS Survey of Education and Work, 10% of 15–24 years olds were part of the NEET population (7.0% of 15–19 year olds and 13% of 20–24 year olds).
Based on the 2011 Census, Indigenous young people aged 15-24 were 3 times as likely (31%) to be part of the NEET population compared with non-Indigenous young people (9.2%).
Young people who did not speak English well or at all were more than twice as likely to be in the NEET population compared with those who spoke English well (8.6%).
Young people needing assistance with core activities (such as self-care, body movements or communication) were more than 3 times as likely (35%) to be in the NEET population compared with those who did not need assistance (9.6%).
The proportion of young people in the NEET population rose with increasing remoteness, from 8.4% in major cities to 11.8% in inner regional areas, and 22% in remote and very remote areas.
Has there been a change over time?
Between 2007 and 2014, the proportion of the NEET population aged 15–24 years remained relatively stable (9.1% in 2007 and 10.2% in 2014). For those aged 20–24 there was a statistically significant increase in the NEET population from 11.1% to 12.9% between 2007 and 2014.