Lowest hourly wage rises for ten years

The increase in hourly wage rates in the Netherlands in 2004 was the smallest for ten years. The average hourly wage rate for employees rose by 2.1 percent to 18.18 euro. At the same time, employees are ageing: while 300 thousand employees were aged between 55 and 65 in 1995, this had risen to 700 thousand in 2004.

Largest wage increase in 2001

In the period 1995-2004 hourly wage rates rose by an average 3.6 percent. The largest increase was measured in 2001, when they rose by 5.0 percent after correction for the abolition of the premium transfer allowance. In subsequent years, the annual increase fell to 2.1 percent in 2004.

Hourly wage rates

Hourly wage rates

Smallest rise workers in hotel, restaurants and education

The smallest increases in hourly wage rates were reported for the hotel and restaurant sector and in education. The average hourly wage rate in these sectors rose by less than 1 percent. This is mainly because the collective wage agreements in these sectors hardly contained provisions for wage increases. The increase in collectively agreed wage rates was 0 percent in the hotel and restaurant sector, and 0.2 percent in education.

Strongest increase in construction

The average hourly wage rate rose by most in the construction sector, i.e. by nearly 4 percent. This is also the sector with the largest increase in collectively agreed wage rates.

Other sectors where hourly wage rates rose by more than average were transport and communication, manufacturing and financial institutions.

Hourly wages rates by sector of industry, 2004

Hourly wages rates by sector of industry, 2004

Sharp drop in 25-35 year-olds

The distribution of jobs by age changed noticeably between 1995 and 2004. The share of young people has decreased, that of older people has increased. The percentage of 25-35 year-olds in particular has dropped. While 31 percent of jobs were done by people in this age group in 1995, by 2004 they accounted for only 24 percent of employees.

Jobs by age group

Jobs by age group

Ageing affects workforce

Opposite the decrease in younger employees, there has been an increase in the number of employees aged 55 to 65 years. Relatively speaking their proportion has doubled, to 10 percent in 2004. In absolute terms the number of jobs for people in this age group rose from nearly 300 thousand in 1995 to 700 thousand  in 2004. 

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