In 2008, there were more than 640 thousand self-employed without personnel (ZZP workers) in the Netherlands. Their number has risen sharply over the past twelve years, predominantly in the services and construction sectors, but in the second quarter of 2009 growth came to a standstill.
Growth over the past twelve years
In 1996, there were fewer than 400 thousand self-employed without personnel. Twelve years later, their number had risen to over 640 thousand. The number of self-employed with personnel has increased only marginally over the same period and the number of participating family members has decreased.
The share of ZZP workers relative to the employed labour force increased from 6 percent in 1996 to 9 percent in 2008.
Mainly working in services sectors
In 1996, ZZP workers were mainly found in agriculture, business services and trade. By the end of the 20th century, the situation changed.
The number of ZZP workers increased sharply in the sector business services, the cultural sector and the construction sector. In 2008, most ZZP workers were active in these sectors, but their number was also growing in health care and social services. In agriculture and trade their number remained stable or even declined.
Self-employed without personnel in various sectors
Big difference with average employee
In 2008, many ZZP workers were men. The average age was 44, the level of education was relatively high and on average they worked 42 hours a week. The category of ZZP workers differed strongly in these respects from the entire employed labour force, where the gender distribution is more balanced, average age and education level are lower and working hours are shorter.
Self-employed without personnel and employed labour force, 2008