Dutch labour participation rate one of the highest in the EU

02/07/2009 15:00

The Dutch labour participation rate in 2008 was among the highest in the European Union (EU). In fact, the rate for Dutch men was the highest in the EU. The labour participation rate in the age category 50–65 was also above the average EU level.

Labour market participation 15 to 65-year-olds, 2008

Labour market participation 15 to 65-year-olds, 2008

Netherlands has second highest rate

Labour participation in the Netherlands is high in comparison to the other countries of the European Union (EU 27). Last year, more than 77 percent of the Dutch population aged between 15 and 65 held paid jobs of at least one hour a week.

With over 78 percent, Denmark was the only EU country where the rate was higher. Denmark has had the highest labour participation rate of all EU member states for years, but the gap between the Netherlands and Denmark has narrowed in recent years.

The rate across the EU averaged nearly 66 percent. With 55 percent, Malta achieved the lowest result. In Hungary, Italy, Romania and Poland the rates were also below 60 percent.

Dutch male participation rate highest in Europe

The Dutch male labour participation rate was the highest in the EU. Over 83 percent of Dutch men held paid jobs, i.e. 10 percentage points above the European average of 73 percent. With 71 percent, the participation of Dutch women on the labour market was also relatively high. Denmark and Sweden were the only countries to achieve better results. Within the EU 59 percent of women were working in paid jobs.

The gender difference with respect to labour participation in the Netherlands was more than 12 percentage points, which is below the European average of nearly 14 percent points. The smallest differences were recorded in the Scandinavian and Baltic states, the largest in Malta, Greece and Italy.

Labour participation 50 to 65-year-olds, 2008

Labour participation 50 to 65-year-olds, 2008

Labour participation rate 50 to 65-year-olds above EU average

Over 63 percent of the Dutch population aged between 50 and 65 had paid jobs last year, whereas the EU average stood at 57 percent, but the labour participation in this age category in the Netherlands is obviously lower than in the European top list. In Sweden, 75 percent of 50 to 65-year-olds participated on the labour market. Sweden is the only country where the labour participation rate for 50 to 65-year-olds is higher than for 15 to 65-year-olds.

Kasper Leufkens