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

886 000

Q3 2020 55 000
Q2 2021 31 000

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

Q3 2020 180 000
Q2 2021 26 000

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


Q3 2020 31.5%
Q2 2021 33.1%

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

251 000

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)

3,9 months

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


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


Vacancy indicator
The vacancy indicator gives an indication of the direction in which the employers expect the vacancies to develop. The more optimistic or pessimistic the entrepreneurs are about the development of the vacancies, the more the value of the vacancy indicator will deviate positively or negatively from the zero line and the more the expectation is that the vacancies will increase or decrease. The indicator is made up of several sub-indicators derived from various variables in the monthly business surveys conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Economic Institute for Construction (EIB). The results are provisional for six months and may change during that period.

08 Vacancy indicator


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.

09 Vacancies (including forecast)

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.

10 Economic growth (including forecast)

Update Labour Market Third Quarter of 2021
The labour market is recovering just as fast as it contracted at the beginning of the corona epidemic. The developments of the first two quarters continue: unemployment is falling, fewer people are changing jobs and labour market activity is low. In short: the supply of labour is decreasing. At the same time, the demand for labour is increasing and people are increasingly approached for other work: the sourcing pressure has never been so high. As a result, the shortage in the labour market continues to increase.

  • Labour market activity, the extent to which the Dutch working population is actively looking for a job, declined again compared to the previous quarter (-31 thousand). There was also a decrease compared to the third quarter of 2020 (-55 thousand). Just over one in ten people in the Dutch labour force (10.7%) are actively looking for a new job. Among employed people this is only one in fourteen (7.2%) and the trend is downwards. We also see that the proportion of people who are not at all looking for (other) work has increased again (43.6%; +0.8%). Labour market activity differs strongly per profession. For occupation-specific insights, please see Giant.
  • Just like last quarter, the number of job changes, shows a substantial decline. Compared to last year, the 16.7% who found other/new jobs represents a decrease of 180 thousand. Compared to the previous quarter, the decrease is less substantial: 26 thousand. Mobility has clearly declined. This is in contrast to an increase in employment. This means that people who already had work are changing jobs less often.
  • The sourcing pressure has increased again by 34.3% in the third quarter. Both compared to last quarter and to last year, there is an increase. More than one in three persons in the Dutch labour force was approached at least once in a quarter by an employer or agency for a new job. 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 2.7% (November 2021). However, unemployment is likely to rise again slightly with the phasing out of emergency and support measures in the last quarter of 2021. In its most recent forecast (August 2021), the CPB predicts an unemployment rate of 3.4% for 2021 rising to 3.6% in 2022. This is a very low unemployment rate. The labour market is therefore expected to remain tight.
  • 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 3.9 months, the expected search duration is very low. Only at the beginning of 2020 was the expected duration slightly lower.
  • The share of flex workers expecting to get a permanent contract at the end of their current flexible contract has increased again. The percentage rose from 39.6% in the second quarter to 41.8% in the second quarter. This share has not been this high since measurements began in 2015. The proportion of job seekers who were immediately offered a permanent contract did decline slightly. In the third quarter, 36.3% of the job seekers indicated that they were immediately given a permanent contract (compared with 37.1% in the previous quarter). This is similar to the period at the end of 2018. Viewed over a somewhat longer period, the proportion is still relatively high. The figures fit the picture of a tight labour market.

In 2020 there were just over 1 million new vacancies according to the CBS. That is a considerable decrease 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%). The vacancy rate is comparable to previous periods such as 2016/2017, 2008 and 2005. Years in which the economy grew strongly in contrast to a sharp contraction in 2020. The most recent forecast of the CPB on the Dutch economy and labour market has been calculated in our vacancy model. It is expected that the number of vacancies will rise to over 1.1 million annually in 2021 and 2022. After that, the economic growth will slow down and 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.

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