Thursday 19 September 2019

Flexible and freelance contracts on the rise, despite shortage of workers

In 2003 some 1.7 million people worked via flexible contracts or were freelancers, but this has now risen to 3.1 million, according to new research by national statistics agency CBS and the TNO research institute.

In 2003, 75% of people in work had a permanent contract but that has since gone down to 60%. In the construction sector, for example, fewer than 50% of workers have a permanent job.

The rise of short term contracts, call-out contracts and self-employment is undermining the Dutch social security system because fewer people are contributing pension and benefit premiums, labour market researchers told the Telegraaf.

‘Self-employment has tax advantages which employees don’t get and flexible working practices are undermining the social security system, ‘ sociologist Fabian Dekker said.

And while many freelancers and flexworkers want the autonomy, not everyone does, and employers are keen to force people into flexible contracts, Dekker is quoted as saying.

Construction

In 2003, 75% of people in work had a permanent contract but that has since gone down to 60%. In the construction sector, for example, fewer than 50% of workers have a permanent job.

People working in the hospitality industry are most likely to have a call-out or zero hour contract even though the hospitality industry is also suffering from a major shortage of workers, with nearly 31,000 unfilled vacancies.

At the same time, new CBS figures show that there are now 100 unemployed people for every 80 job vacancies, a sign of increasing tension in the jobs market. Trade, business services and healthcare top the list of sectors with the biggest shortages.

The Dutch unemployment rate has now fallen back to 3.6%, its lowest level since just prior to the economic crisis of 2008.

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