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Occupations, Wages and Wage Mobility – Or, one reason why Dutch students have tended not to choose for a technical education
Demand and supply conditions in the labor market largely determine the wage of workers in various professions. The development of this ratio in time determines how wages evolve. Other factors that influence remuneration and therefore the differences in pay between occupations, are education, age and gender - but also the relative attractiveness (or unattractiveness) of work and the associated compensating wage differences. Information on compensation and occupational wage can be of great importance in the choice of a profession – and the choices that school age children and their parents make for which direction the child takes in the education choices available to them. The wage differences within a profession can also play a role.
Researchers at the University of Maastricht’s Research Centre for Education and the Labor Market gathered statistics for the years 2001 and 2008 to make it possible to provide a picture of the development of the hourly wage for this period for 11 classes of occupations from agricultural jobs to technical and industrial occupations to medical and paramedical occupations. The numbers show the gross hourly wage of employees (excluding self-employed) per occupational class shown for the year 2008, and the wage in the period 2001-2008. The average gross hourly wage in 2008 for all occupations was approximately € 21.40. The nominal wage growth in the period was 16.5%. After adjusting for inflation, real wage growth shows a rise of only 1.9%.
The researchers show that the gross hourly wage as well as the real wage growth varies widely between the professional classes, but there is a positive link between wage levels and wage growth. Thus salary workers in the medical and paramedical professions, economic and administrative occupations and IT professionals earn relatively high gross hourly earnings, respectively, €22.90, €24.80 and € 26.40.These occupations also exhibit a relatively strong wage growth, i.e. respectively 7.9%, 9.7% and 5.9%.
Employees in educational professions, socio-cultural professions and creative occupations earn more than average, but for them their wages in real terms has remained virtually unchanged between 2001 and 2008. A strong wage decrease of -5.8% between 2001 and 2008 has been observed for workers in agricultural occupations. These are occupations with a relatively low gross hourly rate of €15.90. Workers in the care and service professions earn the least - €14.50. The real wage change in these occupations was also negative: a decrease of 2.3% between 2001 and 2008.
Surprisingly also those in technical and industrial occupations suffered a decline in real income. This is the sector where there has been so much activity recently on the part of government and industry to stimulate more young people to choose technology and trades as their educational direction. The average gross hourly wage was about €20.00 and the real wage change was a decline between 2001 and 2008 of just over 1%.
Dutch students seem to know where their best prospects lie. Over the last decade this has not generally been in technical and industrial occupations.
Technical skills and occupations are finding themselves in an increasingly international labor market. The above figures suggest that employers in NL should look abroad to fill their hard-to-fill technical vacancies. And why not? There should be plenty of unemployed technical workers in EU member countries like Spain, Greece, Italy or in Eastern Europe where unemployment rates are higher than here in NL The country has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU.
Either that or pay them more and improve the long term prospects for youth in this sector.
See: De arbeidsmarkt naar opleiding en beroep tot 2016 - only in Dutch. Scroll down to pages 76 to 78 in the report for the section reported on above.