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Student work : once again a rise during the summer months 2013-01-24

In the third quarter of 2012 the number of days of student work has gone up by 7%, compared to the year 2011. This appears from the latest figures of the National Social Security Office (NSSO). It means that the considerable increase which already occurred during the first six months of 2012 has not manifested itself at the expense of the more classical form of student work during the summer season.

A global rise but not a shift

The number of days of student work at reduced special contributions in the summer of 2012 has increased to 5.74 million days, i.e. an increase by 7% compared to the third quarter of 2011. This rise is remarkable – not only because of the worsened economic climate.

As far as the employment of studying youths is concerned, one can clearly discern two different types of employment:

  • the employment during the weekends but outside the holiday periods : we are dealing here chiefly with the employment of supplementary personnel in order to compensate peak periods, particularly in the retail trade and the catering industry ;
  • the employment  during the holiday periods, which is more being resorted to in order to replace personnel on a temporary basis.

Prior to the year 2012 these two types were treated differently, in that sense that the ruling outside the summer period was more rigid (number of days, higher social contributions). The new rules on student work and the social security liability, which are applicable as from 2012, neutralize this distinction. Consequently one could have been expected that there would be a shift of student work from the summer months to the school year, but this does not seem to have been the case.

The summer remains the top season

These figures also imply that notwithstanding the much broader rise in the number of days worked outside the summer months (+36% during the first six months), student work performed during the summer season  is still much more important in size : in the first six months of 2012 the number of days worked amounted to 2.07 million.

Student profile

By comparing the figures of the third quarter to those relating to the first six months of the year, it becomes possible to detect differences in the profile of the student work during and outside the summer months.

Meer vrouwen doen weekendwerk

In het derde kwartaal bedroeg het aandeel van de dagen studentenarbeid verricht door vrouwen  53%, tegenover 57% in het eerste semester. Dit geeft aan dat studentenarbeid tijdens de weekends een vrouwelijker karakter heeft dan tijdens de zomermaanden.

More female students do weekend work

In the third quarter the share of the days of student work done by female students represented  53%, compared to the share of 57% in the first six months. This indicates that student work during the weekends has a more female character than during the summer season.

Male students also work more often as workmen

A remarkable fact is that, both during and outside the summer season, student work (calculated in days) attributed to male students is being done for almost 60% in their capacity of workman, whereas female students are working in more than 60% of the cases as office workers. This reflects the apportionment also discernible on the global labour market with a share of 54% of male workmen and 27% of female workers (share of the work volume in fulltime equivalents blue-collar/white-collar workers, calculated for the private sector during the second quarter of 2012.)

The larger share of the employment as blue-collar student worker (both male and female students) compared to the global labour market is mostly due to the lesser qualifications of the students at the moment of their employment.

distribution of male and female student employment into workers and employees

Table with pie charts: distribution of male and female student employment into workers and employees, 
third quarter 2012 compared to the first semester

A lesser share of temporary employment during the summer

A breakdown of student work on the basis of the sector of activity learns that:

  • outside the summer season,  temporary employment agencies are more appealed to than during the summer months (the activity pursued by the user/employer of a temp worker is unknown);
  • the sectors ‘Trade’ and ‘Other commercial services’  remain also during the summer season the most important sectors appealing to student work;
  • student work in industry and the building sector and in the sector of the non commercial  services mostly attain a peak during the summer months.

declared student employment according to activity sector

Bar graph: declared student employment according to activity sector,
3rd quarter 2012 compared to the 1st half of 2012.

Which is the source of these figures?

The comparison 2011-2012 is based upon the figures provided for by the quarterly declaration at the National Social Security Office (for local and provincial administrations) (the so-called DmfA), which registers every quarterly period the wages and the number of paid days of student work with the application of a solidarity contribution. For a student who was bound by a contract for the duration of 2 weeks and who only worked during the weekdays, 10 paid days will be mentioned.

In order to illustrate the present release, the number of days ensue from provisional data possessed by the NSSO (which nevertheless represent already 97% of the total). The complete data of the NSSO and the NSSO for local and provincial administrations can be found in the section Statistics – Publications on the website of the NSSO.

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