Small steps towards a real job, this is how we help Rotterdammers find work again

Rotterdam is proportionally the 'welfare capital' of the Netherlands. How do we get people on welfare back to work? People often say that you just have to work for your money and that it is too easy to get a benefit in the Netherlands. Professor of Public Administration Menno Fenger and researcher Robin Simonse see that there is a large group of people who need more than just a push in the right direction to get back to work. But how?

Fortune tellers

"You see a wide range of problems, from relationship problems to debt problems, and if you don't solve them then it is almost impossible to get off welfare," explains Menno Fenger. To investigate this properly, Fenger and Simonse go into neighbourhoods to talk to people on welfare about what they need to go from welfare to work. "These are tools such as guidance and coaching that help people take the necessary steps for a longer period of time."

Taking small steps towards a real job

Robin Simonse: "The role of the social assistance advisor is changing. It used to be a matchmaker: you find someone for a job. But for this large group of long-term unemployed, they are taking on the role of social worker." Research by Erasmus University Rotterdam shows that in this way it is possible to get people into work, without it costing extra money.

From outflow to helping people to a better life

"It may sound idealistic", says Menno Fenger. "But I think that welfare should move from outflow, fewer people on benefits, to inclusive prosperity. Helping people to have a better life. That should become the goal of municipalities."

Want to know more about Erasmus University Rotterdam's research on what is the best method to get long-term welfare recipients back to work? Watch this video [embedded video].


prof.dr. (Menno) HJM Fenger

PhD student

(Robin) RM Simonse

More information

Broad prosperity, in other words everything that people consider of value. Our EUR scientists regularly conduct research on this topic. Want to know more? View our dossier on Inclusive Prosperity and Equal Opportunities.

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