Number of flexible employees in NL grew 75% in 15 years

The number of flexible employees in the Netherlands increased by three quarters, from 1.1 million to 2 million, over the past 15 years, Statistics Netherlands and TNO report. The number of freelancers, also referred to as self-employed in the Netherlands, grew from over 630 thousand in 2003 to 1.1 million last year. 

Statistics Netherlands included employees who do not have a permanent contract or have a contract with variable hours, permanent employees without fixed hours, employees with a temporary contract who have a prospect of a permanent contract, and employees with a short-term contract, in its definition of flexible workers. Freelancers, on-call workers, temporary employees, and employees with a temporary contract without fixed hours are also considered flexible workers. 

Last year the Netherlands counted over 3 million flexible workers, including almost 2 million flexible employees and almost 1.1 million freelancers. The most common form of flexible work is freelancer with own labor, 864 thousand, followed by on-call employees, 539 thousand. The flex forms that increased proportionally the most in the past 15 years are employees with a permanent contract with no fixed hours, temporary employees without fixed hours, and on-call workers. The number of on-call workers doubled. 

A number of professional groups employ mainly flexible workers. These are mainly occupations for which little training is required, such as kitchen help, cashier or shelf stocker. Over 70 percent of kitchen helpers are flexible workers, 40 percent of them are on-call staff. Flexible workers, especially on-call workers, are also very often used behind the bar and cash register - 68 percent and 63 percent respectively. Freelancers are overrepresented in creative professions like author and linguist and executive artist. 66 percent of authors and linguists are freelancers. 

The youngest group of flexible workers is on-call workers, with an average age of 27. Temporary workers are on average 37 years old, and temporary employees with a prospect of a permanent contract 34 years. Freelancers tend to be older, with 59 percent of this group being 45 or older.