Port companies are closing the door too quickly on potential employees

Guido Pijper

Labour sociologist Fabian Dekker investigates employment in the port of Rotterdam. There has never been such a huge staff shortage in the port of Rotterdam as there is now. For many companies, the shortage leads to a loss of turnover amounting to millions. "Yet the majority of port entrepreneurs are not open to employees with a distance to the labour market."

Image of port labour

More than 380,000 people work in the port of Rotterdam. Currently, there are 8,000 vacancies at every educational level. This concerns work for more practically trained people but also more theoretically trained people such as civil engineers and lawyers. According to him, this often has to do with the image of the type of work. It is often seen as heavy and dirty work. The port is also difficult to reach.

Too critical of potential employees?

Dekker sees that despite the tight labour market, employers are critical about who they hire. "There are 47,000 people registered at the UWV in Rotterdam. Yet the majority of port entrepreneurs are not open to employees with a distance to the labour market." On average, companies lose about 10 percent of turnover due to the shortage, which in some cases can lead to losses of between 15 and 20 million euros. According to Dekker, many employers are too quick to close the door to people on welfare. "A different type of company policy must be introduced to reduce the mismatch between employer and employee."

More information

Watch the entire Nieuwsuur episode on the crisis in the labour market here.

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