Dutch workers mainly want to reduce their spending in 2023

3 January 2023


Over a quarter of all Dutch workers expect to struggle to make ends meet in 2023, and as many as half of them are worried about their financial future. Over 80% plan to reduce their spending in 2023. These are some of the notable findings from the big New Year’s Survey conducted by online pension administrator BeFrank. The survey also indicates that almost a quarter of all Dutch workers will be striving for a better work-life balance in the new year. This resolution was also seen in previous years.

For the fifth time in a row, BeFrank conducted its New Year Survey among over a thousand Dutch workers in employment aged 25 years and older. While in 2020 and 2021 workers were mainly concerned about the impact of the pandemic, for the coming year they are mainly worried about their finances. Respondents in single-person households are particularly concerned about making ends meet in 2023, namely 35% of them compared to 25% of respondents in a multi-person household. Broken down by education, 36% of workers with a low education level are worried about financial problems in 2023, compared to 16% with a high education level.

Resolutions for 2023
In addition to worries, there are also resolutions, such as getting training through work or living more healthily. As in previous years, the resolution to achieve a better work-life balance ranks the highest. Over a quarter of those surveyed want to work on this (again). This resolution is strongest in the 30-39 age group.

Top 5 work-related resolutions for 2023
1. Better work-life balance
2. Do a course or training through work
3. Be healthier at work, e.g. take the stairs more often and snack less
4. Ask for a raise
5. Have more time for socialising outside work

Financial future
Asked about their own financial future, the picture is bleaker than in previous years. Over half of those surveyed are more worried about their own financial future than before, particularly women (56%) as opposed to men (47%). Almost 4 in 10 respondents are deliberately setting aside money for retirement, in addition to any pension accrued through their employer. Most expect to keep their jobs in the short term. Almost 9% fear losing their jobs in 2023.

Over 80% of those surveyed want to cut back on their expenditures in 2023. Turning down the heating is at the top of the list, at almost 60%, followed by saving on groceries and eating out (35%). What is striking is that only 20% want to cut back on car expenses, even though that is more likely to make a difference than the shorter showers that 40% of respondents are planning. A fifth are deliberately choosing not to economise, even though wearing a sweater or using the thermostat smartly – while maintaining a good comfort level – can actually make quite a difference.

Top 10 savings measures
1. Turning down the heating
2. Taking fewer or shorter showers
3. Groceries
4. Eating out
5. Clothing
6. Car
7. Holidays
8. Gifts
9. Streaming services
10. Furniture

Almost one-fifth of those surveyed (19%) will not be cutting down on any of their expenditures in 2023.

“It is particularly galling that after the constraints of the pandemic, many Dutch people are now facing financial problems. Or worrying about them,” says Jan Hein Rhebergen, commercial director at BeFrank. “However, it does sound hopeful that many people are taking steps to deal with any setbacks as best they can.” People who get an extra raise or extra income in 2023 want to use it for saving or investing, o r to absorb higher or unforeseen costs.

Pension terms
Of all those surveyed, over half (51%) said they would include pension terms in salary negotiations if they got a new job. In the 2020 survey, this percentage was significantly lower at 45%. “We welcome this development,” says Rhebergen. “It’s important that more and more people are thinking about their income for later, and want a clear picture of their pension accrual.”

Other details

  • Men in particular (20%) are going to seek a raise in 2023, compared to 15% of women. And especially younger people (27% under 30 and 24% between 30 and 39 respectively, compared to 10% of older workers aged between 50 -59).
  • Some 8% want to look for a similar role at another company.
  • For 42%, a higher salary is the main reason for changing jobs.
  • Almost a third of people (30%) know exactly how much income they will have left after retirement.
  • 70% consider it important that their work is meaningful and adds value to society.
  • Job satisfaction in 2022 is rated an average of a healthy 7, which is slightly higher than last year, when 4 in 10 reported that their job satisfaction had been diminished by the pandemic.

About the survey
BeFrank commissioned Panelwizard to conduct a survey in December 2022 among 1071 Dutch people in employment aged 25 years and older.