Dutch millennials struggling to find permanent jobs, affordable homes

Dutch young people between the ages of 18 and 35 years are struggling more and more to become independent, according to a report by social and economic council SER, the main advisory body to the Dutch government and parliament. Millennials are reaching milestones like buying a house, starting a family and building up a pension later in life than previous generations, the SER said, Niewsuur reports.

The procrastination in reaching milestones partly has to do with the economic reality, according to the SER. Young people now more often have flexible jobs and on average only get a permanent contract at age 27 - three years later than a decade ago. As a result, they earn less and build up less pension.

Put study loans on top of the lower income, and young people have a harder time getting a mortgage. That means that they're dependent on expensive rental properties in the free sector and as a result, more of their income goes to housing costs. On average, millennials are therefore leaving their parents home later and buy their first home later than previous generations.

The situation on the housing market also plays a role. More and more homes are being bought by investors, who turn them into rental properties. This leaves fewer homes available for people starting out on the housing market. Last year 25 percent of all sold homes went to first-time homeowners, compared to 47 percent in 2014. According to SER, 40 percent of Dutch young people do not expect to be able to buy a first home, five percent higher than the European average. 

Luce van Kempen of the SER youth platform calls millennials' position worrying. "We see that people leave home later, get a permanent job later, postpone things. For people who want that, it's no problem. But if you are stuck or do not dare to take that step. Then you will get into trouble."

According to SER chairman Mariette Hamer, the Dutch government needs to pay much more attention to the impact on young people's lives when making policy. "That is happening far too little now", she said to Nieuwsuur. She calls for the introduction of a generation test when making new laws. "For example, if you take the student loan system. You should not only look at the effects on education, but also at what it means for the rest of young people's lives. What does it mean for getting a job. What does it mean for your psychological system that you are building up debt."