Saba’s Government Administration Building in The Bottom.
SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–The Caribbean Netherlands’ largest employer is the public sector. Government employs more than 1,900 people or fifteen per cent of the working population on the three islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, according to Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS).
In 2016, 10,700 people between the ages of 15 and 74 were in paid employment on Bonaire; 1,600 on Statia and almost 1,000 on Saba.
The proportionally largest public sector is found on Saba at 27 per cent. This is also the island with a high share of people working in the education sector, mainly linked to the US-based Saba University School of Medicine.
In Bonaire, more employees are found working in the hospitality sector than in the public sector, at 14 and 13 per cent, respectively. The island also has a relatively large construction sector (11 per cent).
In Statia, manufacturing is a major employer at 17 per cent. This is related to the presence of US-based NuStar which has an oil-storage terminal on the island. The majority of people work both in the public sector and in manufacturing.
By contrast, there are relatively many self-employed in the hospitality and construction sectors at 21 and 18 per cent, respectively.
Fewer than four in 10 people in jobs were born on the island where they reside. In Bonaire, 20 per cent of employees were born on another island of the former Netherlands Antilles such as Curaçao, Aruba or St. Maarten, and 14 per cent were born in the European Netherlands, while 29 per cent were born elsewhere.
On Statia (43 per cent) and Saba (46 per cent) of workers were born elsewhere. The origin of workers from elsewhere is very diverse with those from the Dominican Republic forming the largest group. In Bonaire, there are also relatively large groups of workers from Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.
In the public sector, nearly half of all employees are island natives. In Saba 58 per cent of public-sector workers are born on Saba.
Relatively many public-sector employees originate from one of the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles, or – to a lesser extent – the European Netherlands. This is especially the case in Bonaire. In Statia and Saba, almost one in five workers was born elsewhere.
The islands show big differences where it concerns the origin of employees of the education sector. In Bonaire, 43 per cent of employees in the education sector were born there; and 27 per cent were born in the European part of the Netherlands, while 21 per cent were born on another island of the former Netherlands Antilles. On Statia, most educators are from another island of the former Netherlands Antilles or elsewhere. On Saba, 65 per cent were born elsewhere.
In the hotel and restaurant sector and in construction there are relatively few island-born workers. These sectors are dominated by workers from elsewhere, in most cases from Central and South America including the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Venezuela.
One exception is the hotel and restaurant sector in Bonaire, which counts relatively many island natives and European Dutch nationals.