The Netherlands job market: an overview of what to expect in 2017

The Netherlands job market: an overview of what to expect in 2017

If you are working in the Netherlands, you may know that there are many rules and regulations about workers’ rights. 

With the new year around the corner, budgets for next year are being distributed, and the forecast is looking good. Here’s an overview on what we might expect from 2017. 

Unemployment has dropped

As the economy has picked up, employment has followed. For the first time since 2012, unemployment has fallen to below half a million. In November, the figure dropped to 499 thousand, which was a mere 5,6 percent of the entire labour force in the Netherlands.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands (CBS), the decline per month amounts to an average of 7 thousand. To illustrate this, the Employment Insurance Agency (UWV) paid out 410 thousand unemployment benefits in November. The drop was the most significant amongst age groups under 45 years of age. 

Minimum Wage

Like many countries, the Netherlands also has a minimum wage. In the Netherlands, the general minimum wage is set by the government and changes every six month. In January 2017, the wage increase (loonsverhoging) will go up by 0,94 percent. 

Minimum wage in euros from July 1, 2017 (gross)

Age Per day Per week Per month
20 years 44,04 220,20 954,25
21 years 51,92 259,60 1.124,90
22 years 60,87 304,35 1.318,85
23 & older 71,61 358,05 1.551,60

Collective work agreements

From 2017, certain wages in specific sectors are also set to increase thanks to Collective Work Agreements (collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst) known as CAOs. These are negotiated between unions and employers of certain industries.  

A CAO can be for a firm or a whole sector, such as hospitality or even more specific ones like fashion. When a CAO agreement ends, the terms and conditions of the old CAO remain until the new one is published.

Within a CAO there are sections outlining working conditions including wages and allowances, working hours and free days. It also includes affairs such as schooling and childcare

As of 2017, unions have lobbied for an increase in wages. Depending on the sector, whether it be hospitality, retail or painting, the wage increase will go up between 0,25 and 3,25 percent. 

Consumer spending is up

With a rise in employment and better wages, consumer confidence has also increased. According to the CBS, the consumer confidence indicator has stood at 12 since October, reaching the highest level in more than nine years.

The CBS also states that Dutch consumer spending was up by 2.7 percent in October 2016 compared to October 2015. Consumers spent more on durable goods, like clothes and household appliances.

Something to celebrate

With so much to celebrate, and new budgets on their way, what a great time to be thinking about your new career prospects

Kiri Scully


Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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