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Labour market statistics

Labour Market Statistics

Insight into the current situation and developments in the Dutch labour market.

Labour market activity

The labour market activity indicates the active labour supply within the Dutch labour force (excluding self-employed persons and entrepreneurs). These are the people who are now actively looking for a (new) job. In addition, there is a large group of passive job seekers. They are not actively looking for another job, but they do keep an eye on the labour market.

01 Labour market activity

914 000

Q4 2020 66 000
Q3 2021 29 000

Job changes

This figure shows which part of the Dutch working population (excluding freelancers and entrepreneurs) has found other/new jobs in the past 12 months. It says something about the dynamics in the labour market. The figures relate to people who have found a job with a new employer. Internal job changes are not included.

02 Job changes

1.40 million

Q4 2020 25 000
Q3 2021

Sourcing pressure

The sourcing pressure indicates which part of the Dutch working population (excluding freelancers and entrepreneurs) is approached by recruiters, employers and/or agencies for a new job at least on a quarterly basis. The sourcing pressure is related to the scarcity on the labour market. The more desirable (scarce) people are, the more often they are approached.

03 Sourcing pressure

Q4 2020 32.2%
Q3 2021 39,7%


The unemployed labour force consists of all 15 to 75-year-olds living in the Netherlands who do not have a paid job, but have recently looked for work and are immediately available for it. The figures are seasonally adjusted and presented in thousands.

04 Unemployment

2022 mei 353.000
2023 april 369 000

Expected search duration

The expected time spent searching for a job is based on the period of time that people themselves say they need to find a new job. It can be seen as an indicator of workers’ confidence in the labour market. The duration of the application process, the ease of finding work and people’s focus, motivation and commitment influence the actual search duration.

05 Expected search time job seeker (in weeks)

3.7 months

Q1 2022 3,6
Q4 2022 3,2

Permanent deal on horizon

The graph shows two series.
1) The people who found other/new jobs in the past 12 months (see Job Changes) and who immediately got a permanent contract.
2) The percentage of flex workers (excluding self-employed) who expect to get a permanent contract at the end of their current flex contract.

06 Permanent contract expected

Q1 2022 37,5%
Q4 2022 43,3%

Labour shortage

The percentage of entrepreneurs who indicate that they experience labour shortages as an obstacle to their activities. The percentage refers to the total business community (excluding financial institutions and utilities). Figures for the last quarter are still provisional and may change.

07 Labour shortage


Q2 2022 33,6%
Q1 2023 27.5%


The figures relate to the number of new vacancies and are presented in thousands. The forecast model shows the expected development for the coming years. Input for the prognosis includes the estimates of the CPB and the UWV about the economy and the labour market.

08 Vacancies (including forecast)

1,6 mln

2023 (progn.) 1,3 mln
2024 (progn.) 1,3 mln

Economic growth

The graph shows economic growth (GDP growth) per quarter. It is the year-on-year growth, i.e. growth compared to the same quarter in the previous year. The forecast is based on the development of a number of confidence and sentiment indicators. Click on the link under the graph for more information.

09 Economic growth (including forecast)

Update Labour Market Fourth Quarter of 2021

The tightness on the labour market is still unprecedented. The supply of labour is small (low unemployment and low labour market activity), although there is a little more movement in the labour market. At the same time, the demand for labour is increasing and people are increasingly approached for other work: sourcing pressure reached a new record.

Labour market statistics

The extent to which the Dutch working population is actively looking for a job, rose compared to the previous quarter (+29 thousand). Compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, however, there was still a decrease (-29 thousand). One in nine people in the Dutch labour force (11.0%) is actively looking for a new job. Among employed people, this is one in twelve. In addition to the active part, the latent group of job-seekers has also increased. As a result, the proportion of people who are not at all looking for (other) work has declined, whereas it has increased in the past quarters. Labour market activity differs strongly per profession. For occupation-specific insights, please see Giant.

Job changes:

In the number of job changes, we see a cautious change. Compared to the previous quarter, the 17.4% who found other/new work represents an increase of 66 thousand. Compared to last year, however, there was a decrease of 25 thousand. Mobility has increased slightly but is still lower than 2018/2019 when almost one in five people found other/new work.

Sourcing pressure:

The sourcing pressure increased again by 35.6% in the fourth quarter. Both compared to last quarter and to last year, there is a substantial increase. Never before have so many people from the Dutch labour force been approached by an employer or agency for a new job. This is probably also due to the passivity of the working population (the low labour market activity). Sourcing pressure is an important indicator of scarcity in the Dutch labour market. The sourcing pressure for specific professions can be found in Giant.


Unemployment initially rose rapidly as a result of the corona crisis but has been declining since the second half of 2020. The unemployment rate is very low at 3.8% (December 2021). The CPB, in its most recent forecast (September 2021 estimate), foresees a very slight increase in unemployment (according to the old definition of unemployment from 3.4% in 2021 to 3.5% 2022). This is a very low unemployment rate. The labour market is therefore expected to remain tight.

Job search duration:

After stabilising in the first half of 2021, the expected duration of searching for a new job is now declining. This search duration is based on the period that people themselves indicate that they need to find a new job. It can be seen as an indicator of employees’ confidence in the labour market. At 3.7 months, the expected search duration is the lowest ever measured.

Permanent contract:

The trend of flex workers expecting to secure a permanent contract at the conclusion of their current flexible contract is on the rise once again. This percentage has seen an uptick, moving from 41.8% in the third quarter to 42.3% in the fourth quarter. Notably, this share has not reached such heights since the inception of measurements in 2015.

Simultaneously, the proportion of jobseekers who received an immediate offer for a permanent contract also experienced a slight increase. In the fourth quarter, 37.3% of jobseekers reported securing a permanent contract right off the bat, a slight increase from 36.3% in the previous quarter.

While this share was higher at the outset of 2020, when viewed over a somewhat longer period, it remains relatively high. These figures align with the depiction of a tight labour market.

Vacancy rate:

In 2020, there were just over 1 million new vacancies, as reported by the CBS. Interestingly, this is a considerable decrease when compared to the more than 1.2 million new vacancies in 2019. Nevertheless, the vacancy rate (the number of vacancies in relation to the number of jobs of employees) at 12.1% was still above the average of the past 20 years (11.1%). Intriguingly, the vacancy rate is comparable to previous periods such as 2016/2017, 2008, and 2005. These were years in which the economy grew strongly, in stark contrast to a sharp contraction in 2020.

The most recent forecast of the CPB on the Dutch economy and labour market statistics has been incorporated into our vacancy model. Based on this, it is expected that the number of vacancies will rise to 1.1 to 1.2 million on an annual basis in 2021 and 2022. However, after that, the economic growth is predicted to slow down, and as a result, the number of vacancies will also decrease slightly to around 1 million per year.

The indicators on this website are periodically updated. The figures based on our Labour Market Behavioural Survey are updated every quarter. All other indicators and models on this page are updated on a monthly basis.


Labour market statistics

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