INTRODUCTION

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Turkey has a young and dynamic population currently going through the demographic transition, however, more than one-in-four young people (ages 15- 29) are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET). Turkey has the highest ratio of NEETs among all OECD member states and also stands out in global data with regards to the gap between young men and women in terms of NEET rates. This report aims to highlight the issue of NEET in Turkey and provide more details on the profiles and determinants of NEET youth, especially focusing on gender dimensions, while analysing their time use, labour force attachment and civil society participation. The study uses three primary data sources to analyse these patterns: Survey on Income and Living Conditions (2017), The Household Labour Force Survey (2017) and Time Use Survey (2015), all collected by TURKSTAT. The second part of the report focuses on policies to address the problem of NEET youth both from the government side as well as civil society models that aim to engage, activate and empower young people.

 
 

Background

Many different definitions are used globally to define NEET youth. EUROSTAT and OECD define youth as those aged between 15 to 29 whereas the World Bank defines youth covering the age of 15-24. Studies focusing on youth in Turkey also have a variety of age categories to cover youth. For instance, Susanlı (2016) examining the determinants of being NEET in Turkey using a pooled sample from Household Labour Surveys from 2004 to 2013 cover the age group of 15-24 as being youth. On the other hand, Erdogan et al. (2017) underlining the importance of gender and educational attainment as important determinants of being NEET in Turkey covers the age group of 18-29-year olds as youth in their studies.  This report covers the age group of 18-29 to define NEET and presents its analyses accordingly. The age group of 18 was selected as it is the legal age to define youth in Turkey, and this analysis focuses on youth within the scope of the EU-funded project “Enhancing Advocacy Capacities of Youth CSOs in Turkey: Guiding CSOs through Research”. For this reason, the age group 15-17 was excluded from the analysis as it is denoted as a childhood period. The upper bound of the age group is 29 to ensure broad coverage of youth in parallel with studies being carried out in Turkey and also with data sets in Europe. For further discussion on NEET defiitions, please see Annex I.

When the transition from school to the labour market is not successfully realised, young people may fall into an inactive situation where they are not attached to education, employment or training. While the expansion of compulsory education and opportunities to access further education has increased overall education levels in societies; this achievement does not guarantee a job in the labour market.³ Despite the differences across educational systems and labour market dynamics, the mismatch between skills gained at school and skills demanded in the labour market has become a global phenomenon. While the transitions from education to employment is multifaceted and young people’s patterns over the life course vary from one another, early experiences of unemployment often constitute a risk of weak labour market outcomes for later ages for all young people.⁴ This young NEET population is potentially at risk of being socially and economically excluded from society.

Turkey has a young and dynamic population currently going through the demographic transition. One-third of Turkey’s 78 million inhabitants are under the age of 20, and half are under the age of 30.⁵ Figure 1 provides a comparison of the population pyramid for Turkey and European Union countries as of 2017 as well as the projected population pyramid for 2050. Turkey is currently experiencing a youth bulge which is expected then to move onto the middle age category by 2050.⁶ Given the needs of this dynamic and young labour force, and the opportunities (and risks) presented by the demographic transition in Turkey, issues of youth engagement and empowerment are currently extremely important. Hence, issues on youth disengagement, unemployment and inactivity are currently highly relevant in Turkey.

A significant proportion of youth in Turkey are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET). As of 2018, 27.6 percent of 15-29-year olds in Turkey are NEET, constituting a total of 4.9 million people.⁷ Turkey stands out among other countries as one of the countries with a problem of engaging its youth in education and/employment. In Figure 2, among 145 countries with data available, it can be seen that regionally countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and a number of countries in Asia like Nepal, Iran, and Pakistan have relatively higher NEET rates. Turkey’s NEET rate among 15-24-year olds is about 24.4 percent, which is higher than the world average (at 19.9 percent). Turkey NEET rates are comparable to countries like Brazil (24.2 percent), Tunisia (25.2 percent), Egypt (26.9 percent) and India (27.5 percent) among others. Generally, a strong negative relationship exists between country GDP/capita levels and NEET rates, with the NEET rate decreasing with increasing levels of country wealth. Turkey’s NEET rate, however, exceeds the level that is purely predicted by her GDP/capita (See Figure 2).

While in the majority of countries, women have a higher NEET rate compared to men, Turkey also stands out in global data with regards to the gap between men and women. In 119 of the 146 countries, the NEET rate is higher among women. Turkey is among the countries with a high level of gap between men and women. When examined separately, 15.6 percent of young men are NEET in Turkey which is very close to the world average of 15.1 percent. However, with a rate of 33.5, Turkey has a high NEET rate among young women compared to the world average of 24.6 percent. In fact, the difference of 17.9 percentage points between young men and women in Turkey is a gap higher than 75 percent of the 143 countries with available data.

Turkey also has the highest ratio of NEETs among all OECD member states. While from 2005 to 2016 the percentage of NEETs in the 15-29 age bracket decreased in Turkey from 43.6 percent to 28.2 percent, it is still two times higher than the OECD average of 14.21 percent (see Figure 4). In other words, nearly one-third of young people in this age group in Turkey are not engaged in education or work. During the last decade, the share of NEET in the whole population (age 15 - 24) has also decreased in Turkey similar to other OECD countries. This decrease can partially be explained by the increase in the open high school enrolment among youth.⁸ Despite this decrease, the share is still significantly higher than the European Union or OECD. On average 13.2 percent of youth aged 15-29 years old are in NEET status in OECD countries with rates of 10.9 and 15.6 percent respectively for men and women (see Figure 4). Turkey’s rates for both men (15.3 percent) and women (40.2 percent) and especially for women are above the OECD averages. The difference between men and women is again highly visible. Such a large difference between NEET rates of men and women is only seen in Mexico among other OECD countries.

In light of this background, this study aims to analyse trends and determinants of NEET status in Turkey. The study utilizes three nationally representative surveys in Turkey collected by TURKSTAT, to look at who is most at risk of becoming NEET using the Survey of Income and Living Conditions (SILC) dataset⁹, what some of the time use patterns of NEET youth are -using the Time Use Survey dataset¹⁰ and the labour market attachment and aspirations of NEETs using the Household Labour Force Survey dataset¹¹. The study also calculates the cost of NEET youth in Turkey based on a model built using Labour Force survey data and provides some background on policy options related to programmes that aim to activate young people. Lastly, the report ends with presenting alternative models to engage youth that are already being implemented by youth CSOs in Turkey.

 

Definitions of NEET

Many different definitions are used globally to define NEET youth. EUROSTAT and OECD define youth as those aged between 15 to 29 whereas the World Bank defines youth covering the age of 15-24. Studies focusing on youth in Turkey also have a variety of age categories to cover youth. For instance, Susanlı (2016) examining the determinants of being NEET in Turkey using a pooled sample from Household Labour Surveys from 2004 to 2013 cover the age group of 15-24 as being youth. On the other hand, Erdogan et al. (2017) underlining the importance of gender and educational attainment as important determinants of being NEET in Turkey covers the age group of 18-29-year olds as youth in their studies.  This report covers the age group of 18-29 to define NEET and presents its analyses accordingly. The age group of 18 was selected as it is the legal age to define youth in Turkey, and this analysis focuses on youth within the scope of the EU-funded project “Enhancing Advocacy Capacities of Youth CSOs in Turkey: Guiding CSOs through Research”. For this reason, the age group 15-17 was excluded from the analysis as it is denoted as a childhood period. The upper bound of the age group is 29 to ensure broad coverage of youth in parallel with studies being carried out in Turkey and also with data sets in Europe. For further discussion on NEET defiitions, please see Annex I.

³ Vanttaja & Järvinen, 2006
⁴ Müller & Gangl, 2003
⁵ UN Population Statistics, 2015
⁶ ibid.
⁷ Source: The rate is as reported in EUROSTAT and the total number is calculated using data obtained from TURKSTAT.
⁸ In the academic year 2006-2007, the total number of students who enrolled in open high school was 353,896, and this number has increased more than four-fold in a decade reaching 1,554,938 in 2016-2017. The percentage of students enrolled in open high school among youth aged between 15 to 19 increased from 5.4% in 2007 to 15.8% in 2012 and 23.5% in 2016. Because students enrolled in open high school are not counted as NEET, this proportional increase of youth enrolled in open high school can partly explain this outstanding decrease in the percentage of NEETs in Turkey. Source: Ministry of National Education Statistics Yearbooks (2006-2007, 2009-2010, 2012- 2013, 2014-2015, 2016-2017). TÜİK (n.d.) Address-based Population Registration Results.
⁹ Turkish Statistical Institute, 2017c
¹⁰ Turkish Statistical Institute, 2015
¹¹ Turkish Statistical Institute, 2017b

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تقييم الاثر ، التحليل النوعي ، التحليلات التنموية  ، تحليلات كمية ، اسياسات اجتماعية، البحث النوعي ، جلسات تركيز  ، مناقشات مجموعة التركيز ، تدريب صناع السياسة  ، تدريب  ، تعليم مبكر، ، تعليم الطفولة المبكرة  ، تمكين المرأة ، رعياة الطفولة ، التعليم 

Kalitatif , yapıcıların eğitimi, eğitim, erken çocukluk eğitimi, Kadınların Güçlendirilmesi, çocuk bakımı, eğitimanaliznicel analiz, sosyalpolitika, nitel araştırma, politika

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