Notwithstanding their often flexible work contracts, employees under the age of 30 are very positive about career opportunities and the labour market in general. This is according to the most recent figures of the Job Applicant Confidence Index (JACI) from PageGroup. What are the key reasons?

The Netherlands is the European champion when it comes to flexi work. According to recent figures by the CBS our country has 1.8 million flexi workers and over 1 million freelance professionals. Younger employees in particular often have flexible work contracts. In the past year almost a quarter of the working population between the ages of 25 and 35 worked as flexi workers and 9 per cent as freelance professionals. Those aged 35 and over, the percentage of flexi workers falls sharply to just above 8 percent amongst the over 55s.

Flex contract not perceived as something negative

From the traditional point of view, younger employees in particular, therefore, have the least amount of job security. “In the current political climate there are increasing calls to provide employees with more security but I doubt whether young employees perceive flexible contracts as a problem,” says Joost Fortuin, Managing Director of PageGroup.

The figures seem to substantiate his assertion: of all age groups young job seekers are the most positive about their career and the labour market in general. According to research carried out by PageGroup almost 75 percent of all candidates under 30 think they will be able to find a job within 3 months. By way of comparison: for employees aged between 30 and 50 the figure is 60 percent and above that just 43 percent.

In addition, the youngest generation of employees is also the most positive regarding the development of their career: thus, nearly 80 percent expect to be promoted next year. Why are young employees so positive? These are the 3 key reasons:

1. Thanks to the good labour market they can experiment in a number of different directions

“Young people want to take time to discover which direction they want to head in their career,” according to Joost Fortuin. “The contract form does not really matter to them. They are not immediately desperate to secure a long-term contract. This does not feature in their career until later on when they have children and the mortgage has to be paid off. Here, thanks to the good labour market those entering the job market for the first time now have the luxury that they can try out different jobs for a few years initially. There is plentiful supply.”

2. The provision of flexible contracts and freelance contracts is exploding

In 2017, the number of vacancies has grown to close to one million. According to the figures of the Employee Insurance Schemes Implementing Body [UWV] the increase is mainly down to more contracts for freelance professionals, temporary contracts and agency workers. Because younger employees form the biggest group amongst flexi workers they benefit most from the improving labour market. In services, healthcare and retail in particular the supply has risen considerably. In technology and ICT there is even a lack of good candidates.

3. Flexi-work is a good way for those entering the job market for the first time to gain a lot of experience

Freelancing and flexi work are definitely regarded by those new to the labour market as a good way of gaining a lot of experience in different sectors. More than 85 percent of the candidates under the age of 30 expect to develop more professional skills in the months ahead and almost 70 percent envisage broadening their responsibilities.

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