Barriers to studying and working: a new look at the NEET concept in Chile

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Currently, the number of Chilean young people not in education, employment, or training ─NEETs─ remains comparatively high and major gender gaps persist. Recent studies have revealed the heterogeneity of this social group, but they have failed to provide an in-depth analysis of its characteristics informed by the reasons which its members regard as the source of their situation. The aim of this study is to characterise Chilean young people according to their reasons for not working or studying. Based on data from a subsample of 236,424 subjects included in the Chilean Socioeconomic Characterisation Survey, descriptive, cluster, and bivariate analyses were performed. These analyses revealed 3 NEET profiles according to the presence of certain barriers ─family, health, attitudinal, psychological, or access-related─ or a lack of interest in working and/or studying. Subjects were thus classed as: unidimensional NEET, bidimensional NEET, and disinterested. The data revealed that a large number of young people are inactive and that gender factors have an impact on the presence of barriers. The data also confirmed the complexity of NEET status, calling into question its use as an analytic category. Furthermore, our findings highlighted the need for a gender-informed approach in the analysis and intervention efforts targeting this group in Chile.
School-work transition, Gender inequality, Youth unemployment, Chile