Netherlands Forecasts 88,000 New Jobs In Healthcare, Others

Netherlands Forecasts 88,000 New Jobs In Healthcare, Others

The Netherlands is set to create 88,000 new jobs in 2024, marking a 0.8% growth rate, with healthcare, welfare, and specialist business services leading the way.

This trend is expected to continue in 2025, with a projected increase of 85,000 jobs, equivalent to a 0.7% growth rate, according to Rob Witjes, head of labour market information and advisor at the country’s benefits agency.

Despite the positive outlook, Witjes noted that job growth is slowing down compared to previous years. “The growth is there, but it is slowing down and will be significantly lower than in previous years,” he said. This deceleration is attributed to slower economic growth and widespread staff shortages, which have posed challenges for companies aiming to expand their workforce.

While healthcare, welfare, and specialist business services are poised for significant job increases, other sectors such as agriculture, construction, public administration, industry, and transport and storage are expected to see stagnating or decreasing job numbers. The anticipated job growth stems from increased demand rather than employee turnover, differentiating it from mere vacancy increases.

One of the critical issues highlighted by Witjes is the persistent tightness in the labour market. For the past 2.5 years, there have been more vacancies than unemployed people, a unique situation from a historical perspective.

“Companies feel pain from this. The longer it lasts, the more it affects them. And the more creative they have to be,” Witjes remarked.

The UWV (the Employee Insurance Agency) predicts that vacancies will grow by 0.7% in 2024 and 0.8% in 2025, amounting to approximately 1.5 million vacancies per year. This represents about a 15% increase compared to 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic. However, staff shortages are expected to persist due to an ageing population and a dwindling supply of graduates.

The Netherlands’ plans to limit immigration may not alleviate labour shortages, according to Witjes. The new coalition’s manifesto calls for tighter border controls, swifter expulsions, restrictions on family reunification, and adjustments to temporary residence provisions. The right of permanent residence is planned to be abolished, and labour immigration will be more strictly regulated, including the residence of foreign students.

The use of the Dutch language in higher education will be encouraged, and refugees and asylum seekers will lose their privileged access to social housing. However, the upcoming restrictive immigration policies may pose challenges for those seeking to move to the Netherlands for work, family reunification, or education. While companies may still look to foreign immigrants to fill vacancies amidst an ageing population, tighter rules will require strict adherence by immigrants.

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