Young men now more likely to have paid work than young women

Labour | 03-02-2023 08:02

In December 2022, net labour participation among young men exceeded the rate among young women. As of 2003, the year in which Statistics Netherlands (CBS) started measuring labour participation, it was higher among women aged 15 to 24 years than among their male peers. Last year, young men outstripped young women. This is evident from new labour force figures released by CBS.

In December, 77.4 percent of young men were in paid work, versus 75.2 percent of young women. These percentages are considerably higher than just after the start of the coronavirus crisis. In May 2020, 63.8 percent of young men and 70.2 percent of young women were in employment. Before the crisis, the youth labour participation rate stood at 73.6 percent.

The participation rate recovered faster among young women than among young men, widening the gap during 2020. At the end of that year, the gap started to close and by May 2022 labour participation was more or less equal between the two groups. After a slight decline in the summer, the participation rate among young men rose again, while it decreased slightly further for young women. This means that the male participation rate exceeded the female rate as of May, which is unprecedented since measurements began in 2003. See also: Labour participation among young men restored.

Increase among both young men in education and those not in education

People in work aged 15 to 24 years are usually still enrolled in education. Figures on this are available up to and including the third quarter of 2022. Labour participation among young men enrolled in education was higher than before the coronavirus pandemic. The same was true for those without education enrolment, but the increase was less pronounced. In the latter group, work for 28 hours or more per week increased in particular. Students and pupils usually work less than 12 hours per week, but even in this group more people started working, in larger jobs. Among young women, the differences were small compared to three years previously, regardless of whether they were in education or not.

Differences between men and women also become apparent when looking at the occupational classes in which young people work. Within service occupations, the number of both young men and young women employed in accommodation and food services increased. In technical and ICT occupations, more young men started working, but not more young women. These occupations include engineers and software and application developers.

Gradual increase in net labour participation among over-25s

During the coronavirus crisis, labour participation among people over 25 declined far less sharply than among young people. Subsequently, this group saw a more gradual increase than young people. In 2022, the net labour participation rate among men aged 25 to 44 years changed the least, just as in previous years. Unlike among young people, labour participation among 25 to 44-year-olds increased more rapidly for women than for men.