“NEET” youth: A stigma that blurs the social problems of young people





Young people, transitions, NEET, labour market, itinerary, unemployment


This article is aimed at thinking about NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) youth and at proving experientially that the NEET concept is a way to hide social problems impacting youth because it does not take into account the structural restrictions that lead to this situation. This situation has become a pattern of social imbalance, where the lack of work experience promotes a vulnerable situation for those who just start to enter the labour world, which may leave “scars” in their lives. We present an analysis on youth transitions, where not every youth achieves to get out of job insecurity as an adult. An uncertain market of low wages is unsafe and flexible, and does not address the necessities of youth, who are paralysed in a socioeconomic crisis with few opportunities. This article approaches a selection of bibliographical sources and describes the information collected by the Working Population Survey (WPS) about the evolution of NEET, its relation with the job market, and the reasons why these youth do not look for employment. We conclude by arguing that weak work prospects end up deteriorating the citizen rights of the youth population.


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Author Biographies

Juan García-Fuentes, Universidad de Granada

García-Fuentes has a degree in Pedagogy and is a researcher in training at the University of Granada. He is attached to the Department of Pedagogy of the same university and linked to the Research Group, Educational Policies and Reforms (HUM 308). His lines of research are related to youth and transitions, with a focus on the most disadvantaged groups

José Saturnino Martínez García, Universidad de La Laguna

Profesor Contratado Doctor, Departamento de Sociología y Antropología de la Universidad de La Laguna. Licenciado en CC. Políticas y Sociología (Universidad Complutense), Máster en Economía de la Educación y del Trabajo (Universidad Carlos III) y Doctor en Sociología (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), especializado en desigualdad y educación. Ha sido becario en el Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas, en la Universidad Complutense y en la Universidad de Salamanca. Ha realizado estancias de investigación en la Universidad de Wisconsin (Madison),  de Santiago de Chile y de Chile, en la de Buenos Aires y en varias universidades españolas. Ha sido profesor en la Universidad de Salamanca y en el Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas. Entre 2007 y 2011 fue Vocal Asesor en el Gabinete del Presidente Rodríguez Zapatero. Ha publicado varios artículos en revistas académicas sobre educación, desigualdad y teoría sociológica. Autor de La equidad y la educación (2017) y de Estructura social y desigualdad en España (2013). Además, ha realizado informes o asesorado a diversas instituciones, como el Ministerio de Educación o el Congreso de los Diputados, y colabora con diversos medios de comunicación, como ElDiario.esEl País, o Cadena Ser.



How to Cite

García-Fuentes, J., & Martínez García, J. S. (2020). “NEET” youth: A stigma that blurs the social problems of young people. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 20. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.28.4652