A NEET Indicator for Post-2015? Let’s be More Precise By Enrique Pieck

April 2014

By Enrique Pieck, Academic Researcher, Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, Mexico.

When trying to ensure an effective youth transition to the labor market, it is important to consider the diversity of youth and to define precisely what it is understood by labor market and educational enrollment.

Not in education

When considering to adopt an indicator for NEETs (those not in education, training or employment), we are obliged to reflect upon the diversity behind each term and to disaggregate by sex, age and education level. For example, in Mexico women are the majority within NEET, they are often devoted to housework and that does not show in statistics. Also, when assessing youth that are not studying, age and education level are crucial because it is different to talk about youth that have finished university or youth that have only finished basic or secondary education. Perhaps young people have abandoned school but are enrolled in short training courses. All this leads us to widen the scope of what we consider as ‘not in education’ or ‘not in employment’.

What are we really referring to in a NEET indicator?

If a broader concept of NEET is considered then I think this indicator could be particularly useful when trying to identify problems and social inclusion policies in low-income countries. It is more feasible to find data for indicators that show the amount of young people enrolled in short non formal training programs than to find indicators that show youngsters involved in the informal sector. These indicators could be very useful in order to reflect on how to deal with problems related to how adolescents make the transition from non-formal training courses to the labor market, and also on how to improve work competencies provided by training institutions. However, in low income countries where there are larger proportions of youth not enrolled in the formal education systems and engaged in the informal economy, a broader notion of NEET is needed.

Enrique Pieck, Academic Researcher, Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, Mexico. Email:

On 14th February 2014, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released a draft report for public consultation on proposed indicators for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This consultation has now closed.

This blog was one of the commentaries received from NORRAG members. 


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