More young people earn minimum wage

07/05/2014 15:00

The number of minimum wage jobs has risen marginally over the period 2008-2012. The increase mainly occurred among 20 to 30-year-olds. 

Share minimum wage jobs marginally up

In 2012, 6.2 percent of all workers in the Netherlands earned the minimum wage, versus 5.9 percent in 2008. The number of minimum wage jobs totalled 491 thousand in 2012.

Increase mainly among young people

Since the onset of the recession in 2008, the proportion of minimum wage jobs among people in the age category 20-30 has grown from 10 percent in 2008 to 12 percent in 2012. Although the number of jobs for 20 to 30-year-olds was reduced by more than 29 thousand, the number of young minimum wage earners grew by 31 thousand.

Young people are more often employed on a temporary basis or have small jobs to supplement their incomes than older people. Lack of work experience is also a reason why young people are more likely to hold minimum wage jobs.
The increase is also related to the current poor situation on the labour market for young people. As a result, youth unemployment is rising

The share of minimum wage earners has remained virtually stable among over-35s. In the age category 60-65, the number of jobs grew considerably, but the share of minimum wage jobs was reduced.

Share minimum wage jobs by age

Share minimum wage jobs by age

Minimum wage most frequently found in sectors hotels and restaurants, culture and recreation
One third of all minimum wage jobs is found in the sectors hotels and restaurants, culture and recreation and business services. In the sector hotels and restaurants, 13 percent of jobs fall in the minimum wage category. With a share of only 2 percent, minimum wage jobs are the least common in the sectors education and construction.  

Share minimum wage jobs in various sectors, 2012

Share minimum wage jobs in various sectors, 2012

Minimum wage more common among women

More women than men (7 and 5 percent respectively) were employed in minimum wage jobs in 2012. The sector transport and storage showed the widest gender gap: 12 percent of women’s jobs were minimum wage jobs, versus 5 percent of men’s jobs. The minimum wage gender gap is also wide in sectors where the number of male workers is traditionally high, e.g. agriculture, industry and energy and construction.

Katja Chkalova