Labour Shortage Currently the Biggest Issue in the Dutch Industrial Sector, Economist Claims

The Netherlands is grappling with a shortage of workers, and this is considered the “biggest problem” in the Dutch industry, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS) Chief Economist Peter Hein van Mulligen.

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His observations came after recent statistics indicated a shrunk of the Dutch economy in the first three months of 2024, Schengen.News reports.

As cited by APN, CBS statistics revealed that the overall economic shrinkage in the first quarter of 2024 was 0.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

The industrial sector does not have enough people to do all the work. That’s the biggest problem, more so than a lack of demand.

Peter Hein van Mulligen, Chief Economist of Statistics Netherlands

As further noted by van Mulligen, the Dutch industrial sector’s exports were affected more than it was expected. This implies that fewer products have been exported overseas due to the industrial sector’s challenges for a while now.

There Are More Job Openings Than Unemployed Individuals

Van Mulligen said that the tight labour market issue has likely affected this situation, noting that in the Netherlands, there are more job openings than unemployed individuals.

There are more vacancies than unemployed people. That puts pressure on the economy.

Peter Hein van Mulligen, Chief Economist of Statistics Netherlands

Van Mulligen further said that the economy in the Netherlands is currently experiencing a period of “stagnation to a slight decline.” According to him, the situation was similar before the publication of new figures.

Currently, the situation is not expected to change in a short period of time, given that Statistics Netherlands revealed that consumer confidence has dropped slightly over the past months. However, Van Mulligen does not exclude the possibility that the overall Dutch economy will see an increase in 2024.

Netherlands Ranked Among 6 Countries With Highest Shortage of Occupations

The 2023 EURES report on shortages and surpluses indicates that 195 occupations in the Netherlands are facing a shortage of workers.

Moreover, the Netherlands ranked among the six EU countries with the highest number of shortage occupations.

The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Romania, Slovenia, and France together accounted for more than half (53 per cent) of all the identified shortage occupations.

European Labour Authority

Shortage occupations are distributed in several sectors, including hospitality, construction, cleaning, manufacturing, healthcare, IT, transportation, and engineering.

The latest EURES report also revealed that construction emerged as one of the sectors facing persistent shortages in the EU. Such a situation is also reflected in the Dutch labour market.

According to a note published by the Economic Institute for Construction (EIB) in May 2023, the Netherlands will need an additional 10,000 construction workers annually during the 2025-2027 period.