Dutch companies see lowest wage costs increase since 1996

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Last year the wage costs to companies per hour worked increased by 0.6 percent, compared to 2014, Statistics Netherlands announced on Monday. That is the smallest increase in the past 20 years. The low increase can mainly be attributed to lower employers contributions.

In some industries the wage costs were even lower than they were in 2014. The decline was the greatest for financial institutions with -2.2 percent. According to Statistics Netherlands, this was caused by a number of banks that made no extra payments to pensions, which they did in 2014.

The sector that saw the biggest increase was the information and communication sector, with 2.9 percent. Employers' contribution increased in this sector, while it declined in all other industries.

The total wage costs amounted to over 330 billion euros last year. About 79 percent of that was gross wages, including overtime, bonuses and special allowances. The rest was employer contribution to retirement, disability, unemployment and health insurance.

Another contributing factor in the low wage cost increase, is the fact that relatively new workers were employed, whose wage costs are relatively low. On average, labor costs per hour amounted to just over 33 euros. Banks paid most at 55 euros per hour. The hospitality industry has the lowest costs with an average of 18 euros per hour.