Flexibilisation rate has not accelerated since the economic crisis
An increasing number of Dutch people are self-employed or have flexible employment contracts (fixed-term contracts or contingent work). Over the past ten years the share flexible labour (including the self-employed without employees) in the total labour force has increased by 10 percentage points, from 24% in 2005 to 34% in 2015. This increase has come at the expense of the share of employees on permanent contracts, which dropped from 72% to 62% in the same period. We refer to this growth in flexible labour at the expense of permanent contracts as flexibilisation of the labour market. Figures released by Statistics Netherlands for 2003-2015 show that prior to 2009, the share of employees on permanent contracts as a percentage of the total labour force decreased annually by 1.4%. After 2009, the rate of flexibilisation was only slightly lower (-1,3%). Average annual growth in the share of flexible labour decreased from 4% prior to the economic crisis in 2009, to 3.2% after 2009. The rate of labour market flexibilisation has not therefore accelerated since the economic crisis.
Major differences between professions
Flexibilisation has affected virtually all professions, but certainly not to the same extent. Detailed figures released by Statistics Netherlands provide a chronological breakdown for 42 professions of employees on permanent contracts, employees on flexible contracts, self-employed with employees and self-employed without employees. The upper part of Figure 1 shows the five professions with the highest rate of flexibilisation over the past ten years, while the lower part shows the five professions with the lowest rate of flexibilisation. The bar in the middle of the figure shows the average for all professions.
Figure 1. Development in type of employment relationship by profession between 2005 and 2015