In 2005 three quarters of the Dutch population aged 25-65 belonged to the labour force. In 1996 this was only two thirds. Highly educated people are most active in the job market. The increase in the share of highly educated people increased the gross labour participation rate.
Virtually no growth in participation rate among the highly educated
The average participation rate is high among the highly educated. There has hardly been any increase. On average 85 percent of the people with a college or university level education had a job of 12 hours a week or more in 2005 or was actively looking for one. There has been virtually no change in this over the past decade. The gross labour participation rate among people with a secondary level education (mbo, havo, vwo) increased slightly.
Gross labour participation rate of the labour force by education level, ages 25-64
Fastest rise in participation at the vmbo level
[vmbo stands for lower secondary professional education].
The lowest participation rate is found among the people with the lowest levels of education. Their participation increased in the period 1996–2005, especially among people with a vmbo education. In 1996 some 56 percent worked or was looking for a job; this increased to almost 62 percent in 2005. The participation rate of people with elementary level education increased from 43 to over 46 percent.
Education level influences participation rate
The increase in the gross labour participation rate is due to an increase in the education level of the labour force. The share of highly educated people increased over the past decade and the share of less well educated people fell. This is the main reason why the gross labour participation rate increased from 67 percent in 1996 to 74 percent in 2005.
Education level of the labour force
One third of the labour force is highly educated
In 1996 some 26 percent was college or university educated and 30 percent has elementary or vmbo education. Since then the share of less well educated people fell to almost 23 percent. At the same time the share of highly educated people increased to 33 percent in 2005. The share of the middle group with secondary level education remained about the same.