Caribbean Netherlands: relatively many temporary workers on Saba

Kralendijk In 2018, 72 percent of the 15 to 74-year-olds in the Caribbean Netherlands were in paid employment. Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba had 11.2 thousand, 1.9 thousand and 1.2 thousand people in work respectively. The share of employees with a temporary contract was highest on Saba (22 percent). Nearly all large sectors on this island employed relatively many temporary workers. This is evident from the Labour Force Survey Caribbean Netherlands (AKO-CN) 2018, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

One-quarter of temporary workers under the age of 25

In 2018, over half of the temporary workers on Saba (59 percent) and Bonaire (54 percent) were women. On St Eustatius, the female share was less than half (43 percent). On all three islands, approximately one-quarter of the temporary employees were younger than 25 years.

More than half of the temporary workers on Bonaire (54 percent) and St Eustatius (58 percent) were born on one of the islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, i.e. Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten. On Saba, this share stood at 48 percent. A relatively large proportion of the temporary workers on Saba and St Eustatius came from other Central and South American countries: 36 and 33 percent respectively. For Bonaire, this share amounted to 23 percent. Compared to Bonaire (1 percent) and St Eustatius (1 percent), there were also relatively many North Americans (6 percent) among the temporary employees on Saba. Saba houses an American medical school.

Many temporary workers in accommodation and food services and in construction


The largest sector on Bonaire is public administration and government services. In 2018, 11 percent of the people employed in this sector had a temporary contract. Other relatively large sectors with a proportionately high number of temporary workers are accommodation and food services and the health care sector. In accommodation and food services, 26 percent of the workers were in temporary employment, against 20 percent in health care and welfare.

St Eustatius

St Eustatius has a large oil terminal. In 2018, manufacturing was the largest sector on the island. This sector employed relatively many temporary workers as well. Only in the construction sector was this share even slightly higher (22 percent).


Saba has a strong presence of the sectors public administration and education. The percentage share of temporary workers in public administration was similar to both other islands; in education, the share was twice as high (27 percent) as on Bonaire and St Eustatius. The shares were also relatively high in health care, construction and trade, at 37, 34 and 27 percent respectively.

Statline- Caribbean Netherlands; labour participation, key figures

Statline- Caribbean Netherlands; Labour Force company SIC 2008 (in Dutch)

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