Collectively negotiated wages increased faster than gross wages between 2014 and 2018, according to a study presented by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) on Thursday. The researchers point to fewer bonuses, younger employees and more flexible jobs as the main causes.

Thanks to bonuses and promotions, but also, for example, an extra period, employees can earn a higher gross salary. The difference with the annually agreed increase in collective labor agreements is called the incidental wage growth. However, because gross wages lagged behind collective wages between 2014 and 2018, the growth in incidental wages turned negative.

This is remarkable, according to the CPB and DNB, because the tight labor market and economic growth should lead to an increase in incidental wage growth. The reverse was the case between 2014 and 2018 with an annual growth in gross wages that was 0.5 percentage points lower than the collective wage growth.

This is largely attributable to an increase in the number of younger workers and an increase in the number of flex contracts. In addition, the CPB and DNB point to lower so-called individual remuneration components, such as bonuses and promotion.