The employed Dutch workforce is modernizing, digitizing and flexibilizing at a rapid pace. Corona has been driving this further since last year, resulting in accelerated growth in the number of self-employed workers. This applies both to professions that were in high demand due to COVID-19, and to professions where the impact of the crisis was high. This is according to research by HR service provider HeadFirst Group and labor market data specialist Intelligence Group.

Growth of self-employed workers continues
Between 2018 and now, the Dutch labor force grew from 8.8 million to almost 9 million people. Currently, about 16.6 percent of them are self-employed. Partly due to COVID-19, the growth in the number of self-employed workers accelerated last year. There was a visible shift from staffing to hiring self-employed workers. In addition, the growth in the number of self-employed workers within a number of occupational groups was above average because of the additional demand created by COVID-19, such as construction workers, gardeners and welders. There were also many self-employed workers within a number of occupational groups where COVID-19 just hit hard, for example cooks. With their skills, they turned out to be able to earn a living in other ways, for example as home cooks, in catering or working flexibly for restaurants that have started delivering from home."

Scarcity felt by fixed and flex
A growth also caused by the corona crisis, but of a totally different nature, is that of automation, robotization and digitalization. From this there is more demand for specialized knowledge and creates a shortage of highly skilled professionals, especially in IT and engineering. This trend brings that organizations have a constant need for help in recruiting candidates and forces to start from the people themselves, for who they are and what they can do. That this involves a contractual commitment and payment thus becomes an afterthought.

Geert-Jan Waasdorp, director and founder Intelligence Group: "The economy is picking up quickly, but during this growth something else is also happening: the labor market is tilting completely and finding suitable talent is harder than ever. Previously, the flexible shell was used to make up for shortages on the permanent side. Now, self-employed and temporary workers are almost as scarce as permanent employees. A unique situation that has not occurred before."

Talent Monitor launch
With job openings rising to new records, it is expected that the traditional approach to dealing with scarcity will have to make way for data-driven and target group-oriented recruiting. Han Kolff, CEO HeadFirst Group: "More and more organizations are knocking on the door to work with data. With the aim: to compare their own performance against that of the market, in order to make informed decisions and optimize HR strategy."

To give direction to this, Intelligence Group and HeadFirst Group now provide unique quarterly insights on labor market related themes based on recruitment and hiring data in a new report called 'Talent Monitor'. In this report the state of the labor market, specifically the relationship and links between permanent and temporary staff, is accurately mapped and thus provides insight into the development around the integral management of personnel, in technical jargon also called Total Talent Management.

View the first edition of the Talent Monitor here.

About Intelligence Group
Intelligence Group is an International Data & Tech company in the field of labor market and recruitment data. Intelligence Group focuses on the collection, storage and enrichment of labor market related data for the purpose of improving the recruitment of personnel (or employees) by employers and the employability/labor market opportunities of employees. This data is made available to clients in a wide variety, via reports, dashboards and APIs.

About HeadFirst Group
HeadFirst Group is a leading, international HR service provider and specialist in the professional organization of permanent and flexible labor. The organization offers a diversity of HR solutions: Managed Service Providing, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, intermediary services (matchmaking, contracting) and HR consultancy. An average of fifteen thousand professionals work daily for over four hundred clients in Europe, with which HeadFirst Group realizes an annual turnover of over 1.5 billion euros. The main brands of HeadFirst Group are the intermediaries HeadFirst, Between and Myler, MSP service provider Staffing Management Services and RPO and recruitment specialist Sterksen.