Earlier this month, the leader of one of the ruling coalition parties Rob Jetten (D66) came out saying that the Netherlands is going to need up to 50.000 extra labour migrants on a yearly basis to fill up vacancies in our economy. An interesting statement which we do not often hear from politicians in the current political climate, but for us at WBBG, it gave us a reason to look at the state of our labour market and to see where the opportunities for migrants lie.
The labour climate of the Netherlands has been experiencing rapid movements, especially in the wake of Brexit and the economic rehabilitation after the recent economic crises. Statistics have shown that in June 2018 respectively 251.000 jobs were vacant. This is in no way a reflection of the situation of the unemployment rate of the Dutch community, because many of these job openings are in the most venerable sectors for expat workers, as many Dutch citizens have less ambition to work in these sectors. These sectors include:
2. Business Services
3. Health Care
6. Information and Communication (Call Centers and Help Desks)
The biggest deficit of workers is by far in the latter two: construction and IT/Software development. Construction workers are a part of the wider group of the labour migrants, whereas IT departments are often outsourced to countries where the software engineers live. Both these elements are of great value for workers from the Western Balkans seeking employment within the Dutch economy.
The Netherlands welcomes over 50.000 expats per year alone, according to the statistics by the CBS. The topic on labor migrants is quite a controversial one in the Netherlands. Especially construction workers from Poland have a negative reputation among the Dutch. The various protests are in part due to their expensive and temporary living situation, also known as Polish-Hotels. However, the Netherlands is in fact in dire need of more expats and labor migrants from all over Europe; that includes the Western Balkans too. The deficit of the supply of the national workforce has had a negative impact on the development and growth of domestic businesses. It also explains the recent statements by Rob Jetten. According to the ABU, labor migrants have contributed over eleven billion euros yearly to the Dutch national income.
Another way to be a part of the Dutch labour situation is by employing yourself at a Dutch company that outsources one of their departments to your country. This is especially the case for jobs in the IT sector and software engineer, as well information and communication jobs like call centers. According to the Dutch IT Outsourcing Study of 2018, conducted by Whitelane Research and Quint Wellington Redwood, the most favourable factors for outsourcing business are, ranked from high to low:
1. Focus on core activities
2. Improvement of service quality
3. Cost reduction
5. Access to Research
6. More financial stability
7. Business transformation
8. Transparency of costs
This list demonstrates the desirability of outsourcing in general. But especially the IT and Information and Communication departments benefit from outsourcing to the Western Balkans. As our previous blogs have tried to show, the quality of skilled workers is high and their financial contribution is big as opposed to their cheap labor. In an interview with Trouw in 2006, former Ernst & Young director Jacob Verschuur claimed that the cheap labor and the uninteresting aspects of call-centers and easy IT jobs are all factors that contribute to the increasing outsourcing tactics.
In conclusion, the Netherlands will thrive of foreign skilled workers in their companies. We have provided you with a list of various reason for this trend, as well as what the most venerable sectors are. The combination of the education that skilled workers are getting in the Western Balkans, their cheap labor, (potential) European Integration and increasing FDI’s opens up opportunities for great collaborations in the future.