More vacancies than unemployed people in Netherlands for first time in 50 years

The Netherlands is currently experiencing what is known as a tight labour market — there have never been so many unfilled vacancies. In the second quarter of 2021, there were more than 300,000 positions to be filled.  

There is unprecedented tension in the labour market, the NOS reports. According to Peter Hein van Mulligen, the chief economist at Statistics Netherlands (CBS), “We have not seen this in 50 years” — wow!

More vacancies than people to fill them

For every 100 people who were unemployed in the second quarter of 2021, there were 106 vacancies. That’s pretty drastic!

Employers have been struggling to find staff. Among other things, this has been due to the opening-closing-opening of the catering industry — people have been reluctant to return to the literal and metaphorical heat of the kitchen.

Wage support and a structural shortage

There was already a structural shortage in the labour market before coronavirus hit. However, the pandemic exacerbated that problem and led to a temporary extra shortage.

For example, many of these positions are usually filled by people from Eastern Europe. However, Van Mulligen explains that “there is a shortage of migrant workers who have returned to Eastern Europe during the pandemic.”

Wage support from the government has also ensured that there are more vacancies than unemployed people. Without it, many companies would have gone bankrupt — leading to more unemployed people.

Additionally, unemployment has been falling for three quarters in a row. Over the past few months, more unemployed people have started working than those who have lost their jobs.

Looking for a job? These sectors have the most vacancies

Most of the vacancies are in trade, business services and healthcare. In fact, together these sectors account for half of all vacancies. In the hospitality industry, the number of vacancies has doubled as coronavirus restrictions have eased.

Statistics Netherlands showed that the Dutch labour market also experienced its highest ever number of vacancies per thousand employees.

Whilst the total number of jobs has increased significantly in the last quarter due to the easing of coronavirus restrictions, there are still fewer jobs available than during the record high in the first three months of 2020 — you know before Miss Rona came and rocked our world.

The number of jobs for the self-employed has also increased. As a result, more than one in five jobs are now filled by self-employed people. So, it bodes well for you if you have big ideas, can’t stand your boss, and want to venture out on your own.

What are your thoughts on the current Dutch labour market? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Nafinia Putra/Unsplash

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.


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