More Gen Zers are becoming NEETs — what does it mean and is it a bad thing?

More Gen Zers are becoming NEETs — what does it mean and is it a bad thing?

Gen Z’s latest and greatest contribution to the culture? Doing nothing.

A growing number of Zoomers are refusing to embrace adulthood, according to statistics — choosing instead to be NEETs, Fortune reported.

NEET stands for “not in employment, education, or training” — and the lifestyle is thought to be contributing to record levels of youth unemployment around the world.

About one-fifth of people aged between 15 and 24 around the world in 2023 are currently NEETs, according to the International Labour Organization. djile – stock.adobe.com

About one-fifth of people ages 15 to 24 in 2023 are currently classified as NEETs, according to the International Labour Organization.

It’s not exactly clear what is causing sizable Gen Z cohort to ditch the workforce, but research has frequently shown that the group is struggling to hit life’s traditional milestones —- since they’re earning less and accumulating more debt.

A recent study from credit reporting agency TransUnion found that people in their 20s today are taking home a salary of about $45,500, while millennials were earning $51,852 at their age when adjusted for inflation.

In November 2023, a survey revealed that Gen Z and millennial adults are facing more difficulties than their parents did when it comes to achieving milestones in the workforce.

Of the 1,039 young adults surveyed, aged between 18 and 34, 55% said it’s “much harder” to buy a home, 44% said it’s harder to find a job, and 55% said it’s harder to get promoted, according to the Youth & Money in the USA poll by CNBC and Generation Lab.


people, boredom and depression concept - bored or lazy young man with laptop computer lying on sofa at home
NEET stands for “not in employment, education, or training.” Syda Productions – stock.adobe.com

With young people earning less and facing inflation and economic hardships, many are just stuck trying to keep their heads above water.

“I’m just focusing on the present because the future is depressing,” Anette Suveges, a 27-year-old account executive in public relations, previously told Fortune.

And hustle culture and “girlbossing” that ran rampant in millennial culture now seem dated and out of style. Many in the younger generation would prefer to “protect their peace” rather than give into the corporate world.

Some other Zoomers want to work — they just don’t want a whole career.

The 2023 study showed that 40% of those surveyed prefer to pursue less traditional economic opportunities.

This includes jobs that are more laid back with no regular overtime, antisocial working hours or any substantial responsibilities. Others are shying away from office culture. Teaching has become one of the hottest careers for motivated Gen Z grads, where pay is low but vacation is long.

At the same time, Gen Z is facing a mental health crisis, leading them to call in sick to the jobs they are willing to do, way more often than Gen X.

“Youth worklessness due to ill health is a real and growing trend; it is worrying that young people in their early 20s, just embarking on their adult life, are more likely to be out of work due to ill health than those in their early 40s,” researchers at the think tank Resolution Foundation (RF) previously told Fortune.

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