Non-westerners closing gap on the Dutch labour market

16/12/2002 10:00

Half of people with a non-western foreign background in the Netherlands were in the employed labour force in 2001. For the native Dutch population this proportion was seven in ten. Turkish and Moroccan women in particular often do not have a job. Labour participation among people with a non-western foreign background has increased relatively quickly.

Labour participation of 15–64 year-olds by ethnic origin

Lower labour participation for non-western foreigners

Foreigners with a non-western background are less likely to belong to the employed labour force than foreigners with a western background and native Dutch people. Half of non-western foreigners had a job of at least twelve hours a week in 2001. There are large differences within this population group. Just over four out of ten Moroccans had a paid job, while six out of ten people from Surinam had employment, nearly as many as among foreigners with a western background.

Labour participation rose faster among non-western foreigners

The differences between people with a foreign background and native Dutch people has become smaller in recent years. While only 37 percent of people with a non-western foreign background had a job for at least twelve hours a week in 1995, this had risen to 50 percent in 2001. The increase was less steep for the native population.

Labour participation by origin and sex, 2001

Relatively few workers among Moroccan and Turkish women

In spite of the increase in labour participation among women, men are still more likely to have a job. This is true for both people with a foreign background and the native population. More than half of women with a western foreign background and native Dutch women had a job in 2001. For non-western foreign women this percentage was 40. Labour participation is particularly low among Turkish and Moroccan women. Surinamese women, on the other hand, are more likely to have a job than native Dutch women.

More workers among second generation women

Second generation non-western women are doing better on the labour market than their mothers. Nearly half of second generation women had a paid job in 2001, the same proportion as their male peers with a non-western foreign background.

Labour participation by origin and generation, 2001

Many second generation foreigners still in school

A considerable proportion of second generation youngsters with a non-western foreign background are still in education. They are therefore not yet available for the labour market. This explains why labour participation among second generation men with a non-western foreign background is lower than for the first generation.

Mariëlle Reemers