During the preparation of the RAISE YOUTH project, a survey was conducted with general information on NEETs - typology, characteristics, communication approach, influence of external factors such as demographic crisis and characteristics of young people.

Here is a brief summary of the highlights of the report.

In 2014, at UNICEF's assignment, a nationally representative survey, "Assessment of the status and profile analysis of adolescents and young people who do not work, study or train (NEETs)", is conducted in Bulgaria. It covers people between the ages of 15 and 24 and describes a prominent socio-demographic profile of these young people. The structure of the phenomenon by gender is interesting.

The share of men and women among NEETs in Bulgaria is almost equal: 52% to 48%. However, for minority ethnic groups, the proportion of women with NEETs status is 3.5 times higher than the control group. The proportion of men from minority ethnic groups who are part of NEETs group is 2.3 times higher than the control group.

The first peak in joining the group is in the age between 15-19 and it is a result of early school leaving, and the second one is just after graduation. According to the data, one in three graduated people of secondary education find themselves permanently in a situation in which they neither study, work or train and they stay in this situation for more than 1 year.

The reasons may be subjective - lack of professional qualification, skills and competences required in addition to a diploma for high school education, family or health problems, lack of motivation to work. They may also be objective - limited job opportunities, especially in smaller settlements, lack of job vacancies, etc.

64% of the NEETs live in small settlements - villages and small towns (other than district centers). Young people with status NEETs, living in rural areas are three times more than these who live in the capital - respectively 36%: 12%.

The National Statistical Institute provides statistics for several groups of persons according to their behavior in the labor market: employed, unemployed, economically inactive, incl. discouraged people. The groups of the unemployed and the economically inactive will be discussed in more detail here. These are the two major subgroups of NEETs that will be further segmented based on education, qualifications and professional experience.

  • Unemployed with a minimum of secondary education, with professional experience
    These are young people with completed secondary or higher education who have professional experience. They account for about 15% of the NEETs group.
  • Unemployed with a minimum of secondary education, no professional experience
    Every fifth NEETs account to this profile (19.1%).
  • Unemployed with lower than secondary education
    This subgroup has the highest proportion of unemployed NEETs (21.7%). Nearly 73% are between 19-24, over 75% live in villages and small towns.

Economically inactive

The second large subgroup in the NEETs group is inactive youth. According to the NSI classification, these are people outside the workforce. A common characteristic of inactive young people is that they do not register with the labor offices and do not actively seek employment.

The composition of the economically inactive is diverse and includes:

  • youngsters who have worked (15%);
  • youngsters with secondary education and no experience (36%);
  • representatives of ethnic minorities with lower than secondary education (35%);
  • Bulgarians with lower than secondary education, Roma and Turks with secondary education (14%);
  • people on parental leave up, taking care of a child who is under 2 years old;
  • people with early marriages;
  • young people who are financially insured and do not have the desire and motivation to enter the labor market.

Communication approach

Based on the study done within the project, 6 topics were identified that are of interest to the target group, namely:

  • Topic 1: Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills
  • Topic 2: Career guidance and successful implementation
  • Topic 3: Communities, support network and positive examples
  • Topic 4: How to choose what to do and what employers are looking for?
  • Topic 5: How to learn and find information online?
  • Topic 6: How does the labor market work and how to build a career?

The report draws attention to the recommended forms of content and speech techniques - the use of accessible language, different speech structures, forms of communication and tone of communication. Emphasis is also placed on tips on how to get the attention of NEETs from employers through ways to introduce terminology, text formatting into blog articles / web pages, effective writing techniques, various techniques for using videos, images and channels for communication.

The document also includes conclusions about the current situation in the country. Bulgaria has a serious problem with the demographic crisis and demographic imbalance, which further complicates the situation of young people at risk. In 30 years (2001 - 2030) the population of Bulgaria will decrease by nearly one and a half million people. Policies are needed to improve the demographic situation in the country, which will directly affect NEETs as well.

The report also provides useful information on the example of a developed country like Japan in this area and the methods and measures that the Japanese government is taking to combat the growing problem.


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