Job numbers expand, more people on flexible contracts


The share of flex workers in the country's total working population continues to rise, increasing by 2.5% in the final quarter of 2017, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday. The number of people on a fixed contract was 2.2% higher in the same period compared to fourth quarter of 2016. Some 5.3 million people now have a permanent job, or around 60% of the total people with jobs. Two million people have a flexible contact and 830,000 people are classed as self-employed. The situation has changed significantly over the past 15 years.  In 2003 nearly 75% of workers have permanent contracts. The majority of people on short term or flexible contracts have a call-out contract (546,000), 362,000 have a flexible contract which could become permanent and 277,000 work through staffing agencies, the CBS said.   More >

Dutch jobs market is starting to overheat

Jobs There are so few candidates for every job vacancy in the Netherlands that there is talk of an 'overheated labour market' for the first time since the 2008 crisis, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday. In its report on the final quarter of 2017, the CBS said that at the end of last year there were fewer than two (1.8) job seekers for every vacancy. Job numbers increased by 57,000 in the fourth quarter while vacancies were only 14,000 higher. The number of people without work declined by 29,000 the CBS said. Last month, the state job centre UWV warned that the building, IT, transport and logistics sectors faced the largest shortages of staff. A full 60% of companies in the building sector are expecting problems in filling jobs this year. But despite the shortage of job candidates, wages are not expected to rise very much, Peter Hein van Mulligen, chief economist at the CBS told the Financieele Dagblad. Nevertheless the CBS figures are good news for job seekers. Van Mulligen said those having jobs stood a good chance of improving their position through more attractive work or increased hours. The number of jobs in the Netherlands has risen steadily for the past four years and now stands at 8.2 million, the highest since the crisis but still 10% lower than the all-time high in 2008. Of the 500,000 jobs created in recent years, half are temporary, a sector which now accounts for 10% of total job numbers.  More >

Minister pulls plug on freelance rules

Jobs The cabinet has agreed not to enforce laws introduced by the previous cabinet to ensure freelancers really are self-employed until January 2020 - by which time it hopes to have come up with new legislation of its own. However, from July this year, officials will do more to weed out problems at the lower end of the labour market, to make sure employers are not using freelance contracts to get round laws on taxes and premiums, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees told parliament on Friday. Since May 2016, tax office-issued VAR certificates for freelancers have been replaced by individual contracts between freelancer and client. While contracts are not compulsory, if the tax office decides that a freelancer is effectively an employee, the employer will be liable for social insurance premiums and other payments. Sham self-employment The aim of the changes is to stamp out sham self-employment, but in practice, there is mounting evidence that companies are dropping their freelancers. Some 1.3 million people in the Netherlands do some sort of freelance work, often alongside a regular job, according to figures from the national statistics agency CBS. In total, almost 800,000 people rely solely or mainly on income from freelancing while a further 553,000 rely on another source of income – a part-time job, pension or social security benefits – to make ends meet, the CBS said.  More >

Temps agencies willing to discriminate

Jobs Researchers for a television current affairs show have found that many temporary employment agencies are willing to discriminate against people with an ethnic minority background if requested to do so. Almost half of 78 temporary employment offices phoned by journalists with tv show Radar about jobs for a fictional call centre were willing not to send candidates with a Turkish, Moroccan or Surinamese background. Comments made by the agencies ranged from 'of course we can't discriminate but we will take it into account,' to 'I'm not really allowed to say but I do understand'. One third of the agencies said they would not cooperate with the request while 14% said it would be up to the client company who to employ. Iris Andriessen of the government's socio-cultural think-tank SCP said the figures are disturbing but do show a positive trend. In similar research dating from 2011, only 15% of staffing agencies turned down the request, she pointed out. 'So it is positive that the percentage has risen sharply,' she said. Jurrien Koops, of staffing agency umbrella group ABU said in a reaction: 'This shows us that we have to continually inform and train our members and their staff. And that discrimination is a tough social problem which cannot be solved by information alone.' Earlier surveys have shown a similar picture. An SCP report in 2012 showed that youngsters from an ethnic minority background with the same cv, accent and clothing as their white peers are far less likely to find a job through an employment agency. Once invited for an interview, the native Dutch person was offered the job on 44% of the occasions. Those with an ethnic minority background were offered the job 23% of the time.  More >

Dental hygienists may get more tasks

Jobs Government suggestions that dental hygienists be allowed to carry out simple fillings and other procedures have been condemned by dentists' organisations as incomprehensible. Health minister Bruno Bruins plans to allow dental hygienists to take over some of the simpler tasks done by dentists to free them up for more complicated work. But dentists' organisations say neither dentists nor patients back the plan. 'The concept is completely incomprehensible,' said KNMT spokeswoman Dianne Paarhuis. 'Dentists don't want to work with independent dental hygienists and patients are not keen either, according to a survey by the patients' lobby group Patientenfederatie. And insurance companies say it will only drive up costs.' The minister plans to launch a five year experiment widening dental hygienists' areas of competence in 2020.   More >