The Nederlands Dagblad held a discussion with a number of experts to discuss the causes and possible consequences of the shortage on the labour market. Jan van Ours, Professor of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, took part in the discussion.
The participation rate is unprecedentedly high and the jobs are there for the taking: there are 133 vacancies for every hundred job-seekers. Although the labour market is as tight as it has ever been, wages are not rising as fast as they should. According to Professor Van Ours, this is extraordinary: 'I haven't seen what we're seeing now since the 1960s. The problems are greatest in the less attractive jobs. People from the hotel and catering industry have gone into the service sector, for example'.
There are a number of possibilities for dealing with the personnel shortage. Innovative technologies can be used to increase the productivity per employee and migrant workers can be attracted to perform functions that others do not want to perform. The latter is, as Van Ours points out, a short-term solution. 'There are various forms of service provision for which you do not necessarily have to be in the Netherlands. You can outsource them abroad. ICT projects in India, for example. There are always technological developments and they will accelerate now'.
It also becomes clear that companies are prepared to offer more in the prospect of employee loyalty. Van Ours gives PostNL as an example, which will be offering permanent contracts. It can also be wise to talk to potential employees to find out what they need in order to work in a tight sector. Showing flexibility as an employer and making arrangements that can be of value to the individual employee can make a position much more attractive.