Besides Hungary, there are several European countries where companies have difficulties in finding a sufficient amount of employees. Taking this factor into consideration, it is particularly interesting that a significant number of young adults neither continue their studies nor start working. According to Eurostat statistics, 16.5% of young people – between the age of 20 and 34 – belonged to this group last year, which represents approximately 15 million people. The ratio of the so-called NEET group – Neither in Employment nor Education or Training – is quite different among EU countries.
This phenomenon is most dominant in the southern and eastern countries; concerning the central and northern part of Europe, it is less common that young people remain passive in employment or education.
In Hungary , the proportion of youngsters – between the age of 20-34 – that belongs to the NEET group was 17% last year, which is slightly above the EU average. However, the value is more dramatic when it is expressed in numbers, as it represents 340,000 young adults.
The Hungarian tendency reflects the aggravating situation of the labour market in recent years – since 2013, the proportion of unemployed Hungarians and non-educated, non-trained young adults is continuously increasing. Nevertheless, there are still significant reserves in this group, especially among women – in their case, the rate of those in the NEET group changed little since 2016.
The significant discrepancy between the sexes is partly explained by maternity tasks that concerns a certain percentage of the analysed age group. This also proves the fact that gender gap is constantly widening, especially among young adults in Hungary and Eastern Europe.
According to the Hungarian news portal g7, reasons can be traced back to the industry-oriented economic structure that is typical in Hungary and its neighbouring countries.
This can be explained by the fact that in recent years labour demand increased dramatically in the industrial sectors, requiring intensive human labour, mainly characterised by the employment of men, even without training. For this reason, adult education programs are provided – the focus is on the education of man-oriented industrial work.
On the other hand, there are certain factors due to which women are in a disadvantageous situation; and this can also be listed among the reasons for the discrepancy. Maternity-related plans are considered to be a critical point in job interviews because companies are reluctant to employ any candidates who might suspend work for a longer period due to childbirth. Additionally, traditional societal expectations also tend to militate against women’s employment and further studies.
Still, the significant number of NEETs is particularly interesting because in recent years there was multitudinous recruitment of social groups who used to be resistant in the previous years. Therefore, it seems that labour reserve is still sufficient for the country; however, more focus is needed on how employers address this segment of society – for instance, by providing favourable terms for young women.