The report revealed that around 70% of students who enter a first degree in OECD countries graduate, but completion rates “differ widely” between countries.
Between 2008 and 2011 unemployment rates climbed steeply in most countries. Young people have been particularly hard-hit by un- and underemployment as a result of the global recession. In 2011, the average proportion of 15-29 year-olds neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET) across the OECD was 16%; among 25-29 year-olds, 20% were NEET. In some countries the figures are much higher, with more than one in three people between the ages of 25 and 29 neither in education nor in work. These young people are forced to pay a very high price for a crisis that was not of their making, with longlasting effects on their skills, work morale and social integration.
Though many factors play a role in a country’s capacity to contain the rise in youth unemployment in times of crisis, the way institutional arrangements between education
and work facilitate transitions into employment is perhaps one of the most important. Countries that have a higher-than average (32%) proportion of graduates from vocational programmes, such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Luxembourg, were all able
to keep the increases in unemployment rates among this age group to below 8 percentage points. Conversely, countries such as Greece, Ireland and Spain, where less than 25% of
young adults graduate from vocational upper secondary education, saw increases in unemployment rates of 12 percentage points or more among 25-34 year-olds with only