Fewer flexible workers

03/01/2005 10:00

In 2003 there were almost half a million flexible workers in the Netherlands, a marginal decrease compared to 2002. Young people often have flexible contracts. One third of the flexible work force consist of temporary employees.

In 2003 almost half a million flexible workers

In 2003 the active labour force comprised approximately 6.3 million employees and 800 thousand self-employed. Over 5.8 million employees had permanent contracts. The remaining 466 thousand had flexible contracts and worked on average at least twelve hours a week. This is 6.6 percent of the active labour force.

Proportion of flexible workers apparently stabilising

In the period 1992-1998 the proportion of flexible workers increased. This situation changed from 1999 when legislation covering the legal position of flexible workers was introduced and the shortage on the labour market gave people the opportunity to negotiate better terms of employment, for instance, permanent contracts. After 2002 the proportion of flexible workers has only fallen slightly.

Proportion of flexible workers in the active labour force

Proportion of flexible workers in the active labour force

One in three flexible workers are temps

On average 149 thousand persons in the active labour force were employed by temp agencies in 2003, almost one third of the total amount of flexible workers. Over 100 thousand were standby or replacement workers. The remainder had other types of flexible jobs.

Flexible workers by type of contract, 2003

Flexible workers by type of contract, 2003

Young people more often have flexible contracts

Almost one quarter of 15-24 year-olds had flexible contracts. The amount of young flexible workers is almost four times as high as the average. This is partly because many young people are still attending some form of education. Pupils and students are often working part-time alongside school or study on flexible contracts. Another reason is that for many people in this age category it is their first job and starters on the job market often work on temporary contracts.

Active labour force by contract and age, 2003

Active labour force by contract and age, 2003

Proportion of self-employed rises by age

The proportion of self-employed rises by age. There are very few young people among the self-employed. In the age category 25-34 almost one in ten are self-employed. The number of self-employed gradually grows with advancing age. In the age category 55-64 one in five are self-employed. The high proportion of older self-employed is partly due to the fact that self-employed on average retire later in life than employees.

Ingrid Beckers