Largest hourly wage increase reported in 12 years

Hourly wages rose by 3.1 percent in the past year marking the largest annual increase since 2008, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported. Per-hour employees were often paid more despite working less overall due to the pandemic last year.

In general, the total amount of wages paid decreased by 0.5 percent last year totaling 385 billion euros. The decrease was largely attributed to the NOW subsidy which partially compensated employers for their employees’ wages during the pandemic. In 2020, the total number of working hours fell sharply by 3.4 percent.

Hourly wages increased the most in the construction sector last year at 6.7 percent, followed by the education and care sector both at around 5 percent. The rise in wages in the educational and care sector is largely due to higher salaries and bonuses.

Workers in the hospitality sector, on the other hand saw their wages drop significantly by 5.4 percent. Workers in the hospitality sector have the lowest average hourly wage at 19 euros, according to the CBS.

Hourly wages are highest on average in the financial sector at 57 euros per hour. The overall average hourly wage for 2020 stood at 36 euros.

Between 2010 and 2020 hourly wages rose in total by 18 percent, two percent of which is due to changes in demographics, such as more elderly workers and higher-educated people on the job market. Inflation during that period was 17 percent.

Over the past ten years, wages increased the most in public administration at 25.2 percent, healthcare at 24.8 percent and education at 24.2 percent. In the business service sector, however, wages rose by only 9.3 percent and in the hospitality sector even less at 4.2 percent.

Had the pandemic not taken place, hourly wages would likely also have risen higher in the business service and hospitality sector.