in 2017


Key drivers

Wage pressure in high-skill industries (6.2)

High-skill industry wage pressures eased this year. Wage growth in high-skill sectors slowed compared to lower-skill ones including manufacturing and service activities.

Talent mismatch (5.9)

A growing number of unfilled job vacancies combined with a higher long-term unemployment rate indicate that the gap between workers’ skills and employers’ needs has grown.

Labour market flexibility (4.9)

The Netherlands’ rank in terms of labour regulation and flexibility has worsened slightly this year.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


Robert van Veggel

Managing Director, Hays Netherlands

View from the Ground

The number of vacancies in the Netherlands peaked in 2017. The working population showed a sharp increase versus 2016, mostly due to an increase of permanent jobs. The rebound of permanent jobs is a remarkable turnaround after years of an increasing contingent workforce. Employers focus on retention of staff in times when finding staff is difficult. This trend is supported by unclear legislation for self-employed workers. While jobs in the administrative and financial sector are still in decline, we are seeing a structural skills shortage in nearly all other sectors, led by industrial, IT, scientific and services. Among the many sought-after roles, ‘recruiter’ is the most in demand, reflecting the overall demand for staff across most sectors. To face these challenges the Netherlands needs to improve the local education system and attractiveness for foreign knowledge workers.

Robert van Veggel, Managing Director, Hays Netherlands

COUNTRY profile

In 2017, the unemployment rate in the Netherlands fell by 1.1 percentage points to 4.9%.

This reflects the growth in employment of over 2%. Much of the growth was in self-employment and amongst employees with temporary contracts.

The pick-up in demand for labour also boosted earnings. Gross wages and salaries rose by 3.8% in 2017. This is its fastest rate since 2008. Among those who benefitted were lower-skilled workers, whose wage growth outstripped their higher-skilled counterparts

Key skills in demand

  • Account Managers
  • Project Leads
  • Software Engineers
  • Customer Services
  • Work Planners (Construction)