Nearly 30 thousand contract workers in agriculture

© Hollandse Hoogte
In 2019, the volume of labour deployed in the Dutch agricultural sector was equivalent to over 156 thousand full-time jobs (FTEs). Included were nearly 30 thousand full-time jobs of people working on the basis of fixed-term contracts, doing specific or occasional work. This is evident from the agricultural census conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

The majority of the non-regular labour force - often seasonal workers - were active in horticulture. Especially during planting and harvesting times, more temporary manpower is needed in this sector. The horticultural sector accounted for almost 26 thousand full-time jobs of non-regularly employed persons, nearly 87 percent of these types of jobs in agriculture.

Non-regular labour force in agriculture, 2019
BedrijfstypeFull-time jobs (1,000 full-time jobs)
Total agriculture29.8
Dairy farming1.3
Other livestock farming1.1
Arable farming0.8
Other agriculture0.8

Lots of seasonal work at greenhouse vegetable farms

Within the horticultural sector, the seasonal workforce was largest at greenhouse vegetable farms. This workforce was larger than the number of regularly employed workers. Nearly 60 percent of the labour input consisted of seasonal workers. These include students who help pick tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers, but also temporary migrant workers. No further information is available on this. Seasonal workers accounted for 19 percent of the work on all farms. Agricultural sectors where there is relatively little seasonal work are livestock farming and arable farming.

Non-regular labour force, type of farming, 2019
BedrijfstypeShare of non-regular labour force (% of full-time jobs)
Total agriculture19
Greenhouse vegetables60
Flower bulbs43
Cut flowers42
Fruit cultivation37
Open-field vegetables37
Other horticulture33
Pot and bedding plants32
Other greenhouse horticulture22
Arable farming5
Dairy farming4
Other livestock farming4

Relatively much seasonal work in Haarlem and Westland

In the areas around Haarlem and in the Westland region, a relatively large part of the agricultural activities were carried out by seasonal workers, namely 61 and 46 percent respectively. The Westland region is known for its greenhouses, where mainly vegetables, flowers and plants are grown. In the north of Noord-Holland province, western Noord-Brabant and large parts of Zuid-Holland as well, a relatively large number of seasonal workers were employed in agriculture; 30 to 40 percent of the workforce were not employed on a regular basis.

Seasonal workers in agriculture, corop region, 2019
Oost-Groningen (CR)5
Delfzijl en omgeving (CR)9
Overig Groningen (CR)4
Noord-Friesland (CR)14
Zuidwest-Friesland (CR)4
Zuidoost-Friesland (CR)5
Noord-Drenthe (CR)6
Zuidoost-Drenthe (CR)12
Zuidwest-Drenthe (CR)9
Noord-Overijssel (CR)6
Zuidwest-Overijssel (CR)4
Twente (CR)4
Veluwe (CR)4
Achterhoek (CR)4
Arnhem/Nijmegen (CR)14
Zuidwest-Gelderland (CR)16
Utrecht (CR)11
Kop van Noord-Holland (CR)33
Alkmaar en omgeving (CR)20
IJmond (CR)11
Agglomeratie Haarlem (CR)61
Zaanstreek (CR)3
Groot-Amsterdam (CR)22
Het Gooi en Vechtstreek (CR)4
Agglomeratie Leiden en Bollenstreek (CR)28
Agglomeratie 's-Gravenhage (CR)31
Delft en Westland (CR)46
Oost-Zuid-Holland (CR)19
Groot-Rijnmond (CR)33
Zuidoost-Zuid-Holland (CR)2
Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen (CR)10
Overig Zeeland (CR)18
West-Noord-Brabant (CR)33
Midden-Noord-Brabant (CR)11
Noordoost-Noord-Brabant (CR)14
Zuidoost-Noord-Brabant (CR)19
Noord-Limburg (CR)29
Midden-Limburg (CR)18
Zuid-Limburg (CR)7
Flevoland (CR)24