24 January 2023, by Victoria Séveno
UWV: 1,5 million people in the Netherlands switched jobs last year
The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit or the Great Reshuffle, is an economic trend in which a high number of employees choose to quit their jobs. Recent figures published by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) reveal that this trend can also be observed in the Netherlands, as almost 1,5 million people – or one in five workers – decided to resign and look for something new in 2022.
According to the UWV, between the second and third quarters of 2022, 404.000 people changed jobs, “a quarter more than just before the pandemic.” Over the past decade, “the number of job changes [in the Netherlands] has doubled.”
Overall, workers with flexible employment contracts were more likely to make a switch. The Netherlands also saw a significant increase in the number of people opting for self-employment: in the past two years, the total number of self-employed people has increased by 14 percent, with the largest increases taking place in the healthcare, technical and ICT sectors.
Dutch workers looking for higher salaries and better conditions
In a statement published by the UWV, international labour market advisor Michel van Smoorenburg explains that this wave of resignations could also be observed in countries like the US – which, like the Netherlands, is suffering from a severe shortage of workers after the coronavirus pandemic.
While American workers were generally on the hunt for new jobs in order to improve their work-life balance, Van Smoorenburg says the motivation for career changes in the Netherlands was slightly different: “We are champions of part-time work and there is no country in Europe where people work from home so often. In the Netherlands, the explanation for the many job changes is therefore mainly due to the increased tightness on the labour market.”
While looking for new work can be risky, the recent staff shortages observed across various industries in the Netherlands meant workers could be more secure in their decision to quit their jobs. “In a tight labour market, employees change jobs more quickly,” Van Smoorenburg explains. “Employees review their own job and then weigh the pros and cons of switching. A possible higher wage, more development opportunities or more favourable other employment conditions play a role in this.”
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