Freelancing women wait longer to have kids

Women in the Netherlands working in flexible employment wait longer to start a family than women with permanent employment contracts, according to a study by Statistics Netherlands on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

In the period between 2003 and 2015, the stats office looked at a group of 25 thousand childless women between the ages of 18 and 45 who have a partner. The stats office specifically looked at which of these women had a child within the first year of joining the working population.

13 percent of women with a flexible contract had a child within their first year, compared to 18 percent of women with a permanent contract. Self-employed women are more likely to have a child in the first year than flex workers, but less than permanent workers - 17 percent. 

The number of hours worked also plays a role, according to the stats office. Flex workers who work full time are least likely to have a child in the first year - only 11 percent did so. Among full-time employees with a permanent contract, 21 percent had a child within the first year. 

Remarkably, the type of work the women's partners do doesn't seem to play a role in the decision to start a family. Statistics Netherland corrected its figures to take into account the fact that flex workers are often young.

The researchers could not find a clear reason for why flex workers wait longer to have kids, but believe that long-term uncertainty about the labor market plays a role.