Rate development professionals 2023

In this edition of the Talent Monitor, we look back at developments in 2022 and express expectations for 2023.

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Rate hike of four to six percent for self-employed and seconded workers in 2023

The hourly rates of flexible workers, self-employed and professionals employed by secondment agencies, rose an average of 3.8 percent in 2022. This is a lot less hard than predicted, under pressure from scarcity and inflation. This emerges from analysis by labor market data specialist Intelligence Group and HR-tech service provider HeadFirst Group. In 2023, they expect an average rate increase of four to six percent.

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Key findings

  • In the past year, 127,000 new zzp'ers entered the market. This makes them the fastest growing group of workers in the Dutch labor market, now accounting for over 10% of the Dutch labor force.
  • Figures from Intelligence Group show that only 10.5% of highly educated self-employed people want to return to paid employment. In early 2021, this was still 17%.
  • In 2023, the supply of professionals increases, in part because of the huge growth of highly skilled self-employed (independent professionals). Although the supply of active job seekers is still particularly low, the number of offers on assignments is expected to increase slightly, and the banks of secondments in early 2023 - in professional groups such as IT and marketing - will be slightly more filled than a year ago.
  • Data from HeadFirst Group shows that the rates of professionals who started a new assignment in 2022 increased by an average of 3.8% compared to 2021. If extended agreements are also included in the average rate, the average rate increase is a small percentage point lower at 3.1%. This decrease is because renewals tend to go at the same rate, while new contracts go at a higher rate.
  • The highest rate increase was seen in the first quarter of the year. In subsequent quarters, the increase was less, while scarcity and inflation continued to increase.
  • If we assume the expected increase in collective bargaining agreements in 2023, the hourly rates of independent professionals will rise on average between 4 and 6% in 2023. The agreed wage increases for permanent staff and rate increases for independent professionals will not differ much from each other.
    • Hourly rates follow and keep pace with collective bargaining developments. The annual average for 2022 now stands at 3.6%, although wage agreements accelerated to 6.4% in November 2022.
    • Detachers will, if contracts and SLAs allow, raise rates slightly more to reflect current inflation.
    • Clients do not take rigorous steps to widely index rates of professionals on current assignments. They take a performance-based approach: professionals whose rates are in line with performance are not indexed much, if at all, in the interim. Professionals with good performance and an hourly rate below the market average do get indexed - or at least sooner.


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