The issue of young people not in employment, education, or training (NEET) is a global concern, and the UK is no exception. Examining the latest statistics from the OECD provides a comparative look at how the UK fares against other countries in addressing this challenge. 

Understanding where the UK stands can help policymakers, educators, and stakeholders implement effective strategies to reduce the NEET rate and support young people in finding meaningful career and educational opportunities. Let’s take a look at the UK’s NEET performance compared to the rest of the world.

Understanding NEET

The NEET rate represents the percentage of young people (typically aged 15-24) who are not engaged in employment, education, or training. This group is at risk of social exclusion and economic disadvantage, which can have long-term implications for both individuals and society.

The UK’s NEET Rate

As of 2023, the NEET rate in the UK stands at 11.6%, reflecting a slight increase from the previous year. This rise highlights ongoing challenges in integrating young people into the workforce and educational systems. The NEET rate in the UK is higher than the OECD average of 10.7%, indicating room for improvement.

International Comparison

When compared to other OECD countries, the UK’s NEET rate is relatively high. Countries like Germany and the Netherlands have significantly lower NEET rates, at 7.5% and 5.8%, respectively. These nations have robust vocational training systems and strong labour market integration policies, contributing to their lower NEET rates.

In contrast, Southern European countries such as Italy and Spain face higher NEET rates, with Italy at 20.0% and Spain at 13.9%. Economic instability and high youth unemployment rates contribute to these elevated figures.

Gender Disparities

Globally, there is a notable gender disparity in NEET rates, with young women more likely to be NEET than young men. This trend is also evident in the UK, where efforts to close this gap are ongoing. Gender-specific interventions, including support for young mothers and targeted educational programmes, are crucial in addressing this issue.

Policy Implications

The comparative analysis underscores the importance of effective policies to reduce NEET rates. Successful strategies from other countries include:

  • Enhanced vocational training: Countries with strong apprenticeship systems tend to have lower NEET rates.
  • Labour market policies: Active labour market policies that promote youth employment and internships help integrate young people into the workforce.
  • Education-to-work transition: Support systems that ease the transition from education to employment are essential.

The Role of Startingpoint

At Startingpoint we aim to play a crucial role in addressing the NEET issue in the UK. By providing resources for career development, connecting young people with potential employers, and offering guidance on further education and training, Startingpoint helps to bridge the gap. Our platform supports young people in finding pathways to employment and education, ensuring they do not fall into the NEET category.


Addressing the NEET challenge requires a multi-faceted approach, combining education, training, and employment policies. The UK can learn from international best practices to improve its NEET rate. At Startingpoint, we are committed to supporting young people and employers to create opportunities and foster economic participation. For more detailed information, you can explore the full OECD data here.