The number of people who do not participate in the Dutch labor market will decrease further in 2022. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) figures this Wednesday that a quarter of all 15 to 75 year olds, or 3.3 million, are outside the labor force. They have no paid work, have not recently looked for a job or are not available for work in the short term.
In 2003, the first year in which Statistics Netherlands collected the data, this still involved 30.2 percent of the total working population. Since then, the percentage has gradually declined.
The main causes of the decrease are the increase in the retirement age and the abolition of early retirement schemes such as early retirement. But a larger number of people also voluntarily choose to continue working after retirement, for example because it is financially necessary due to increased inflation or a major drop in income after their career due to a pension shortfall.
Nearly half of the non-working population did not participate in the labor market in 2022 due to old age: 1.6 million. Illness is the next most important reason. Some 785,000 people did not look for work because they were incapacitated for work or because of long-term illness. That is a slight increase compared to last year, when there were 759,000. Providing (informal) care and following a course are also mentioned by respondents, Statistics Netherlands reports.
It was striking that young men between the ages of 15 and 25 will have paid work much more often in 2022 than before. Over the past decade, the percentage of young men not participating in the labor market fluctuated between 23 and 24 percent, before falling to 18 percent last year. For the first time in twenty years, the young men have now reached the same level as their female peers.
CBS dived going deeper into the figures in January and concluded that more young men started working in technical and ICT professions in particular, but not more young women. In other sectors, such as hospitality and service professions, both young men and young women entered the workforce.
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A version of this article also appeared in the May 3, 2023 issue.