In the wake of the youth unemployment crisis in Europe, the concept of NEET (young people not in employment, education, or training), has been gaining traction in all member States of the European Union as a tool to better gauge the challenges of young people at risk of labor market exclusion.

It is also one of the indicators to measure progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite some criticism (Elder, 2015), the notion of NEET can serve the redefinition of employment and social policy objectives by drawing attention to marginalized individuals who require specific solutions for inclusion in the labor market.

The highest number of registered young unemployed people in the EU was recorded in 2013, approximately 4.7 million. It is a period in which European countries faced two major crises (the Great Recession and the European Debt Crisis) which affected the increase in the number of unemployed young people. In the period up to 2019, positive trends can be observed, that is, a decrease in the number of unemployed young people to a total of 2.7 million in 2019. The beginning of the pandemic caused a renewed increase in the number of unemployed young people in the Union. Thus, compared to 2019, in 2020 the number of unemployed youth increased by 216,000 people, that is, the total number of unemployed youth approached 3 million. 


This problem is also present in our country. Faced with the challenge of a high percentage of youth unemployment (around 35%), in North Macedonia, the crisis is becoming more and more relevant due to the lack of certain professions for which there are open job positions on the labour market. There is a striking disproportion between the supply and demand of jobs and labour. The deficit in some, and surplus in other professions.

Academic efforts to find an explanation for the unfavourable situation of young people in our country point, among others, to several key reasons for the high rate of youth unemployment:

  • the largest percentage of young people are not guided by their interests, abilities, and values ​​when 

   choosing an occupation/profession, which later makes them uncompetitive in the labour market; 

  • insufficient awareness of the labour market; 
  • lack of skills for informed decision-making; 
  • insufficient readiness for active job search or lack of competencies to facilitate such an undertaking;
  • demotivation and anxiety that weakens the very idea of ​​looking for work.

If all these challenges are analysed in the areas covered by career counselling/guidance, the direct connection that can be a field of action is clear. Partially, the solution to overcome such situations was recognized in the Youth Guarantees program, which, among other things, provides support for the introduction and promotion of career counselling/guidance.

The Republic of North Macedonia is the only country in the region that is not yet a member of the European Union but it introduced the Youth guarantee program in 2018 as a measure to increase the employability of young people. First as a pilot project in three municipalities, and today on the territory of the entire country, as a measure implemented by the Employment Agency of RS. Macedonia. In this regard, when governments and social partners set targets to reduce the number of NEETs through measures such as the Youth Guarantee, the heterogeneity of the NEET population and the specific characteristics of subgroups must be taken into account (Eurofound, 2016).

The Youth Guarantee is a set of measures that aim to guarantee quality services offered to young people in the direction of employment, continuous education, additional education, practice, and training. As a model, the youth guarantee was first observed in Finland and Scandinavia in the 80s and 90s of the last century. Over the years, different forms of this model have been observed in different countries, according to the nature and different needs of the labour market. At the level of the European Union, the youth guarantee in 2012 becomes part of the recommendations for increasing the employment of young people up to 25 years of age, which is proposed by the European Commission, on the proposal of the European Council and the European Parliament, to the member states.

The Youth Guarantee measure in the Republic of North Macedonia foresees activities aimed at improving the status and life of young people. It aims to provide young people (age 15-29) with an offer of employment, the opportunity to continue their education, practical work, or training for preparation for employment. The general idea is to motivate young people to stay in North Macedonia, as well as to create skills among young people so that they can find work more efficiently. Of course, career counselling/guidance is inevitable in the whole process, which must be present in all phases of capacity building and career planning among young people.

Building a successful career through Youth guarantees
  • Author / Originator: Marija Kovacheska - Euroguidance Ambassador - North Macedonia
  • Country of origin North Macedonia
  • Main focus Career Development, Access to Guidance Services
  • Modality Remote
  • Context Employment (PES)
  • Type Tool, Intervention
  • Target group Jobseekers
  • This practice developed through Erasmus+ No