Skip to content Skip to footer

Loading Results

Young Workers Index 2017

The $1.2 trillion prize from empowering young workers to succeed in an age of automation



This year’s update of our Young Workers Index shows that the OECD has continued to make progress on a number of key indicators of youth empowerment. Switzerland, Iceland and Germany continue to lead the OECD, taking the top positions on the index.

In this edition, we explore the implications of an increasingly automated workplace for young workers and discuss how governments and business can support them to succeed in an automated world.

In our analysis of the GDP gain from lowering NEET (not in education, employment or training) rates of young workers to German levels, we find that the OECD could experience a long-term gain of around $1.2 trillion.

View the key findings of our research and explore the results further using our interactive data tool. We provide more detailed analysis and commentary in the full report, which you can download below.

Top performers on our Young Workers Index
Top performers on PwC's Young Workers Index

Key findings

Our Young Workers Index is a weighted average of seven indicators which reflect the labour market impact of workers aged 15 to 24 in OECD countries, including employment, education and training. The key findings from our 2017 report are as follows:

  • Switzerland, Iceland and Germany continue to take the top three spots on the index.
  • There continues to be a large disparity in the outcomes for young people across OECD countries – NEET rates range from 7% in Iceland to over 30% in Turkey and Italy.
  • The UK's position in the index remains middling, but it has moved up two places to 18th this year, while the United States also moves up two places to 12th.
  • There is a large regional disparity in the UK, with NEET rates ranging from around 11% in the South East to over 20% in the North East.
  • The OECD could achieve a $1.2 trillion boost to GDP in the long-term if countries lowered their NEET rates of those aged 20-24 to match German levels. For the UK, the potential gain could be around £43 billion.
  • Automation poses one of the largest challenges to tomorrow’s workforce. For young workers in the UK, the largest numbers of existing jobs at risk of automation are in the retail and wholesale sector. 
  • We discuss some of the practical ways governments and business can support workers in an increasingly automated world. This includes technical training and apprenticeships, as well as encouraging uptake of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) as related jobs tend to be less at risk of automation. 
Young Workers Index rankings vary widely across Europe
Young Workers Index rankings vary widely across Europe


Explore the data

Use our new interactive data tool to explore how your country compares in the Young Workers Index by simply clicking on your country of choice. 


Explore by selecting a country
    NEET rate
    % of age group (20-24 years old)
    NEET gap with Germany
    % of age group
    GDP impact of reducing NEET rates to German levels
    % of GDP
    USD billions
    unemployment rate
    % of labour force
    (15-24 year olds)
    Index ranking
    OECD averageavg
    Young Workers Index score relative to OECD average
    United Kingdom
    OECD Average
    * Country excluded from analysis as NEET rate is below German levels.
    Sources: OECD for historical data, PwC analysis for estimates of long-term GDP impacts. Latest available data used: NEET rates (2015), unemployment rates (2016), except Chile and Korea: NEET rates (2013)

    Contact us

    Hannah Audino

    Hannah Audino

    Economist, PwC United Kingdom

    Tel: +44 (0)7483 348728

    George  Mason

    George Mason

    Economist, PwC United Kingdom

    Tel: +44 (0)7710 033205

    Follow us