Labour market information

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Netherlands - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


In 2018, the Dutch economy continued to grow considerably, in fact by 2.7 %. The number of jobs increased by 260 000 to more than 10.4 million. There were than 1 million vacancies and the labour market was tight in almost all labour market regions in the Netherlands. A tight labour market means that there is a relatively high number of jobs compared to the number of jobseekers. In a survey, employers indicated that almost half of their vacancies were difficult to fill. Employers in the construction sector had the highest percentage of vacancies that were difficult to fill and employers in the public administration sector had the lowest percentage. Employers who struggle to fill their vacancies often publish their vacancies via one or more recruitment channels, make use of their own network and/or staff or proactively look for candidates themselves. Adjustment of the salary, other employment conditions or the job requirements is less common. One in five employers who struggle to fill their vacancies did not take any additional action. In practice, it turned out that they often still succeeded at filling the vacancies.

In 2019, the Dutch economy is continuing to grow, albeit not as much as in 2017 and 2018. The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis anticipates growth of approximately 1.5 % in 2019. In the coming years, it is expected that there will be more than 1 million vacancies and the number of jobs will continue to increase to 10.6 million in 2019, mostly in the retail, care and welfare sectors.

In 2018, the working population comprised 9.1 million people between the ages of 15 and 75 who were working or looking for work and were also available for it. The percentage of unemployed people among the working population was 3.8 % (350 000). There are also people who don’t count as the working population but who may be able to or may want to work. However, because these people are either not yet immediately available or have not recently looked for work, they do not count towards the official international definition of unemployment. The potential in the labour market is therefore greater than the statistics suggest.

At the end of 2018, there were almost 263 000 people receiving unemployment benefit from the UWV [Employee Insurance Agency]. This is 67 200 fewer than at the end of 2017.


Indicator for tension on the labour market per province, end of 2017 and end of 2018

Spanningsindicator arbeidsmarkt

Indicator for tension on the labour market

Zeer krap

Very tight







Zeer ruim

Very loose


Text last edited on: 05/2019

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