Wage Index, Sector Analysis of the Netherlands

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Loonwijzer – Monsterboard Wage Index (2012) Wage Index, Sector Analysis of the Netherlands. Netherlands: Wageindicator, CELSI Report March 2012. (EN)


The main purpose of this first Loonwijzer – Monsterboard Wage Index is to describe some of the key characteristics of the workforce in ten selected sectors of the Dutch labor market. We study the following sectors:

(i) Agriculture, nature, animals, environment,
(ii) Construction, fittings, and housing,
(iii) Education, research, and training,
(iv) Finance, banking, and insurance,
(v) Health care, paramedics, and laboratory,
(vi) Hospitality, tourism, leisure, and sports,
(vii) Industrial production, manufacture, and metal,
(viii) IT, automation, and telecommunications,
(ix) Marketing, PR, and advertising, and
(x) Transport, logistics, ports, and airports.


Levels as well as annual changes in key characteristics are studied in six focus areas:
(a) gross hourly wage and bonuses,
(b) gender pay gap,
(c) working hours and overtime,
(d) restructuring expectations and restructuring in the past 12 months,
(e) satisfaction with work in detail and
(f) satisfaction with life as-a-whole.


In the second chapter, we focus on developments in two sectors, Information and communication and Financial and insurance activities in the period from 2006 to 2011. Finally, this report aims to compare wages on the worldwide basis in the last chapter. It focuses on 4 occupational groups across (up to) 23 countries:
1) managers
2) professionals
3) technicians and associate professionals,
4) and clerical support workers.

Some of the main findings include:

  • A moderate annual increase of the median gross hourly wage (1.4% - 6.8%) was experienced in each studied sector in 2011, except for Finance, banking and insurance sector where a negligible decrease of 0.6% was observed. Industrial production, manufacture, metal sector and Marketing, PR and advertising sectors show the highest increments in the median gross hourly wage at 6.8% and 6.0%, respectively.
  • The percentage of employees at risk of poverty (low pay) decreased in all sectors with the exception of Construction, fittings and housing experiencing slight increase in 2011. This and the previous bullet point may indicate that workers placed lower in the wage distribution participated in the general wage growth more than proportionally. The highest proportion of workers at risk of poverty (low pay) in 2011 can be found in Hospitality, tourism, leisure and sport sector (26%) and Agriculture, nature, animals and environment sector (18%).
  • According to the global comparison of wages in up to 23 countries and 4 occupational groups (1. mangers, 2. professionals, 3. technicians and associate professionals, 4. clerical support workers), taking into account different price levels in these countries, Dutch wages reach some of the highest positions in the world rankings of median gross and net hourly wages as well as in the world rankings of Big Mac wages.
  • Moderate changes in the proportion of employees receiving various financial benefits were observed in 2011. The only bonus with increased incidence in 2011 in almost all sectors is holiday allowance received by 40% to 62% of employees. End-of-year bonus and performance bonus are the next most common bonuses, moreover showing large intersectoral differences in the percentage of employees receiving these benefits, ranging from 3% to 35% in 2011. This development in bonuses is consistent with the overall impression that the Dutch labor market was in relatively good condition in 2011 compared to 2010.
  • Job security improved in 2011, i.e. a higher percentage of employees reported feeling of satisfaction with job security in all the studied sectors. At the same time, increased percentages of employees expressing eagerness to find a new job in the next 12 months are observed in a majority of studied sectors. This observation may herald more optimistic expectations and an increased dynamics in the Dutch labor market compared to 2010.
  • Overall satisfaction with life exhibits very stable annual values. The percentage of employees satisfied with life as-a-whole changed only slightly or remained stable in all sectors in 2011. The highest percentage of satisfied employees (94%) can be found in Health care, paramedics, laboratory sector and Marketing, PR and advertising sector. The highest proportion of employees reported dissatisfaction in Transport, logistics, port, airport sector, and Hospitality, tourism, leisure, sports sector with 87% of satisfied employees.
  • Regarding developments in Information and communication sector, and Financial and insurance activities sector in the period of years 2006 – 2011, a significant worsening is observed in nominal wages, the incidence of employee bonuses, announcements of redundancies, training opportunities and the willingness to undergo restructuring after 2009, possibly resulting from the effects of the financial crisis and economic slow-down. The general impression is thus that the Dutch labor market was hit considerably harder than one might infer from the rather moderate, though slightly increasing between 2008 and 2010, unemployment rate. Adjustment seems to have occurred through wage moderation but also through rather significant cuts in employee benefits after 2008. Interestingly, fresh data for 2011 show that the trend might have reversed and the performance of the Dutch labor market in 2011 was significantly better than in 2010 for most indicators. This is consistent also with the reversal of the trend in the unemployment rate that slightly declined in 2011 compared to 2010 after three years of gradual increase.1

Sectoral analysis in this report is based on the Dutch part of the international dataset of the WageIndicator Foundation. It draws on annual data consisting of approximately 16,000 completed questionnaires in the WageIndicator Salary Survey (www.loonwijzer.nl) during the years 2006-2011. Worldwide comparison draws on the international dataset of the WageIndicator (2010-2011) and an analysis of wages of nearly 160,000 survey participants across the world.

1 Eurostat data available at http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.e/nui/show.do?dataset=une_rt_a&lang=en