Youth labour statistics

In many countries, the youth labour situation is worrisome. Informality and vulnerable employment remain an unfortunate reality for the majority of employed youth around the world. Moreover, when they are not in employment, youth face difficulties accessing the labour market. This is reflected in high youth unemployment rates, high NEET (not in employment, education or training) rates, and the often difficult transition from school to work.

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community committed to increase youth employment opportunities and to substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in education, employment or training (SDG 8.6). In this context, detailed labour statistics on youth provide vital information to support governments and civil society in their efforts to design, implement and monitor policies to promote better youth employment outcomes.

Table of contents

Featured publication

Volunteer work and its links to the labour market experiences of young people

This paper looks at how volunteering can benefit young people at the start of their careers. It uses existing literature and undertakes further longitudinal analysis, including on the effects of volunteering on young people as they seek to access good jobs.


Partners for more and better data

The ILO project to produce comprehensive national data on youth in the labour market, including indicators on the transition from school to work, was possible thanks to the support of the Mastercard Foundation.


Database description: Youth Labour Market Indicators (YouthSTATS)

This database description provides a concise overview of concepts and definitions, uses, sources and limitations for indicators focused on youth ages 15 to 29.

Resolution concerning the methodology of the SDG indicator 8.b.1 on youth employment

Adopted by the 20th ICLS (2018), this resolution sets an internationally agreed methodology to measure indicator SDG 8.b.1 on national youth employment strategies consistent with the Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (A/RES/71/313).

Guidebook on SDG Labour Market Indicators

Decent Work and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Guidebook on SDG Labour Market Indicators

This Guidebook provides a detailed overview of the labour market indicators included in the Sustainable Development Goals Global Indicator Framework. It is intended to serve as a manual of best practices for calculating and interpreting the SDG labour market indicators, with a view to monitoring progress made at the national and international levels towards the achievement of the SDGs.

Can we measure the schoolto-work transition of young persons with labour force surveys? A feasibility study

Can we measure the school-to-work transition of young persons with labour force surveys? A feasibility study

The purpose of the paper is to examine the feasibility of obtaining data on school-to-work transitions of young persons from conventional labour force surveys. After an examination of the basic concepts and definitions of the ILO’s SWTS, the paper examines in turn the feasibility of measurement with retrospective questions in conventional labour force surveys and with matched samples in labour force surveys with rotation sample design.


School-to-work transition indicators provide a detailed classification of young people’s transition path into the labour market, shedding light on employment prospects for youth and barriers to young people’s access to decent jobs. There are two main indicators: the school-to-work transition stage and the school-to-work transition form.

The school-to-work transition stage classifies youth into three groups according to their stage in the transition: transited, in transition, and transition not yet started. According to this classification, a person has not “transited” until they are settled in a job that meets very basic criteria of stability or satisfaction. The transited population is subdivided according to two types of transition: (1) youth transited in a stable job; and (2) youth transited in satisfactory self-employment or a satisfactory temporary job.

The school-to-work transition form indicator classifies those youth that are “in transition” into four forms: those that are (1) in school and currently in the labour force (employed or not employed but available and looking for a job); (2) not in school and unemployed (looking and available for a job); (3) not in school and currently employed in a temporary and unsatisfactory job; and (4) not in school but with the intention to be employed in the future. In addition, the youth population that has not yet started the transition is classified into those who (1) are still in school and outside the labour force (not employed and not available and/or looking for a job); and those who are (2) not in school, outside the labour force and with no intention of looking for a job.

Dedicated school-to-work transition surveys typically provide the most detailed and comprehensive data on the school-to-work transition. However, as most countries don’t conduct these special surveys on a regular basis, the ILO derived a methodology for obtaining estimates of school-to-work transition indicators from existing national labour force surveys. Although not all national labour force surveys include the questions needed to obtain school-to-work transition statistics, many surveys are fit for this purpose and can provide reliable and continuous insights on young persons’ transition experience. The school-to-work transition data published on ILOSTAT are derived from the ILO’s stock of harmonized national labour force survey microdatasets.

Need Help?

Here are the basics to use the data catalogue

For more info, visit our Get started page!

Or feel free to contact us, and we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.

Use filters above the table

Use the search feature to enter key words. On the data page, you can also filter the database and select a frequency to find monthly, quarterly, or annual indicators. While all indicators are available for annual periods, only a subset are available as monthly or quarterly. 

Options to access data

Data available in the Excel summary files are for indicators only (not available for countries or regions) for selected classification items for 2010 onward for annual data and 2018 onward for short-term indicators. For historical data or additional classifications, either use the Data Explorer or download the CSV file. 

Download a zipped CSV file (gzip) to get data in bulk. These files contain only codes. Download the dictionary with labels here

There are other options to access data in the data tools section

This tool provides an intuitive interface to filter the selection, pivot the table, calculate distributions, and export data into various formats.


New to this site?