March 20, 2023 at 05:08
The number of self-employed persons in our country has increased considerably since the start of the corona crisis. A better balance between work and private life, less work pressure and higher rates have ensured that there are currently more than 1.24 million self-employed people, compared to 1 million just before corona. And the government is not too happy about that.
“We are leaders when it comes to flex. It is disproportionate compared to the countries around us,” Erik Stam, professor of economics at Utrecht University, told NU.nl. “During the corona crisis, there was rapid digitization. The threshold for doing business online has therefore become lower. Moreover, both young people and the elderly who have retired have started working as a self-employed person. This makes it a versatile phenomenon.”
The growth in self-employed persons is mainly reflected in care and welfare, followed by technical, commercial and ICT professions, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. The professional groups of social workers, group and residential supervisors, psychologists and sociologists and medical specialists in particular grew. There was also a strong increase among carpenters, marketing, public relations and sales consultants and software and application developers.
“The self-employed profession has become more popular anyway,” says CBS chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen. “This is partly due to the shortage on the labor market. People with flexible jobs in particular decide to become self-employed. They are better able to organize their own time and also earn more. We see this reflected in healthcare and the technical and commercial professions.”
According to Van Mulligen, the increased workload in certain sectors also plays a major role. “Like in healthcare. Many people therefore choose to become self-employed.”
The cabinet wants to reduce the number of self-employed persons without employees. Most self-employed people are not insured against incapacity for work and accrue little or no pension. This makes them a major risk, not only for themselves but also for the economy. Self-employed persons can only fall back on social assistance in the event of a breakdown. And as a result, they can get into serious financial trouble.
Huge explosion of self-employed professionals in healthcare
Employment agencies are seeing more and more employees become their own bosses because of the tightness on the labor market. There is a huge explosion of self-employed people, especially in the healthcare sector. People choose to become self-employed because of the better balance between work and private life. In addition, they can get started for a higher rate. This is also the case in security.
According to Professor Stam, employees leave because they then have a stronger negotiating position. “As a self-employed person you can demand a higher rate, which means you also have a higher income. In addition, many people have nothing to lose. Most self-employed people believe that they will find a job again if their project failed.”
We no longer have a job for life
Furthermore, it is no longer self-evident that we have a job for life. Starting somewhere at the age of 25 until retirement is no longer an option. “More and more people choose another job after five to seven years or become self-employed.”
The tightness on the labor market therefore not only creates golden times for employees, but also for the self-employed. Stam: “That is really a new phenomenon. In the meantime, the government is taking measures by further phasing out the self-employed deduction, which should make self-employed less attractive. But that is happening very slowly.”
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