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Netherlands – Permanent contracts shrink as flexible workforce increases

12 December 2012

The Dutch workforce has changed significantly in the last decade and now there are fewer employees with a permanent position while the number of people with flexible contracts or those in self-employment has been on the rise, the local statistics office said today.

In the third quarter of 2012, 69% of the employed labour force was in permanent employment. Ten years ago, this figure stood higher at 75%. Younger people are less likely to have a stable job as the share of employees aged between 25 and 34 with a permanent contract has also declined from 77% to 68%.

But the number of people with a flexible employment contract has increased. In the third quarter 2012, their share has risen by 340,000 when compared to ten years ago.  There are now also more temporary workers in a trial period who can expect to move into a permanent position, the statistics office said.

The data shows that those with low levels of qualification tend to work on flexible labour contracts. People with higher levels of education are more likely to be self-employed.

In the third quarter of 2012, 20% of workers with low qualifications had a flexible contract, compared to 13% of self-employed. By comparison, 14% of people with better qualifications were working flexibly in the quarter and 17% were self-employed. 

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