SNR: Developments in pension provision among the working population

Statistical news
Datum 7 december 2017

The percentage of the active working population that accrues pension rights with pension funds has gradually declined over the last six years. New market entrants are providing pensions to an increasing number of employees. However, a growing proportion of the working population does not accrue pension rights as employees with a pension provider.

At the end of 2010, almost 83% of the active working population accrued pension rights with a pension provider, amounting to 6.9 million pension scheme members, from an active working population of almost 8.3 million people. By the end of 2016, this percentage had dropped to 79% (6.7 million active pension scheme members relative to a working population of 8.4 million people). Members of the working population that do not accrue pension rights as employees for example include the self-employed, and those working for employers that do not offer pensions. They can arrange their pensions themselves, by for example saving for a pension under the third pillar.

Both the size and composition of the working population has changed in the last six years. During this time, the active working population saw a net increase of approximately 125,000 people. This rise is mainly due to the increase in the number of workers on flexible contracts (391,000) and the self-employed (161,000). By contrast, the number of employees on permanent contracts declined by 427,000 in the past two years.

The pensions market has also changed during these years. Employees can accrue pension rights with different types of pension providers. Most employees accrue pension rights with a pension fund: this can be with industry-wide pension funds, company pension funds or occupational pension funds. In addition to these pension providers, employees may also accrue pension rights with insurers, pension premium institutions, and recently also with general pension funds. The percentage of the working population that accrues pension rights with a pension fund has gradually decreased (see figure below). At the end of 2016, this was almost 65%, with insurers or pension premium institutions (PPIs) providing pensions for the remaining 14%. At the end of 2010, 71% of the working population were members of a pension fund, with 12% accruing pension rights with an insurer (PPIs did not exist at that time).

Chart 1 - Part of the working population that accrues with pension funds
Deel beroepsbevolking dat bij pensioenfondsen opbouwt

Note: Active pension funds members as a percentage of the working population between 31 December 2010 and 31 December 2016

The decline in pension fund membership has been accompanied by a rise in the percentage of employees accruing pension rights with PPIs (see table below). Over the last six years, the greatest fall in pension funds membership has been in industry-wide pension funds (3%). There has also been a substantial drop in membership of company pension funds, from 8.6% at the end of 2010, to 6.1% at the end of 2016, representing a decrease of 198,000 active members. Since 2011, there has been the option to set up a PPI for defined contribution schemes, and ten PPIs are currently active. Since 2014, DNB has accumulated and published data on pension fund membership, which shows that at the end of 2016, 3.3% of the active workforce were members of a PPI (279 active members).

Table 1 - Percentage of working population that accrues per pension provider

Percentage of working population that accrues per pension provider

Note: Active members of pension funds as a percentage of the labour force between 31 December 2010 and 31 December 2016. Source: DNB, Statistics Netherlands

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