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Addressing the Rise in NEETs: The Latest ONS Survey Insights

03.07.2024

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released the Labour Force Survey results for January to March 2024, revealing a significant increase in the number of young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). The current NEET estimate stands at 900,000, up from 812,000 in the same period last year. This increase represents 12.6% of the young population, highlighting a critical issue that demands immediate attention.

Key Findings from the ONS Survey

  1. Reweighting and Volatility: The Labour Force Survey estimates have been reweighted from July to September 2022 onwards, introducing a discontinuity in comparisons before this period. The smaller sample sizes have also increased the volatility of the estimates, necessitating cautious interpretation of quarterly changes.

  2. NEET Increase: The total number of young people who are NEET has risen by 87,000 compared to the previous year. This rise is predominantly driven by young men, with the NEET rate for young men increasing by 2.6 percentage points to 13.9%, while the rate for young women decreased by 0.5 percentage points to 11.2%.

  3. Unemployment and Economic Inactivity:

    • The number of unemployed NEETs aged 16 to 24 is estimated at 320,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous year.
    • Economically inactive NEETs number 580,000, up 77,000 from the previous year, with a notable increase among young men.

Implications and Sector Reactions

The rise in NEETs has significant implications for the future workforce and economy. Leaders from various sectors have voiced their concerns and proposed solutions:

  • Faiza Khan, City & Guilds: Emphasises the need for a fresh approach to skills development, focusing on providing opportunities for education and training from ages 16 to 19 to improve long-term employment prospects.

  • Sam Avanzo Windett, L&W: Calls for a Young Person’s Guarantee to ensure support for accessing employment, training, or education within four months of leaving formal education or employment.

  • Kate Shoesmith, REC: Advocates for reforming the apprenticeship levy to support shorter, more modular courses and calls for greater collaboration between public and private sectors to create job opportunities.

  • Paul Nowak, TUC: Stresses the importance of providing real help to young people to develop skills and secure stable jobs, and highlights the need for policy changes to eliminate insecure work practices.

Moving Forward

The current statistics underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions to address the increasing number of NEETs. As a training and recruitment company, SERT is committed to contributing to these efforts by providing comprehensive training programmes and supporting young people in their transition to employment. By collaborating with various stakeholders and implementing innovative solutions, we can help reduce the NEET rate and foster a more skilled and productive workforce.

Stay tuned for more updates and insights on how SERT is addressing this pressing issue and working towards a brighter future for young people in the UK.

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