Labour market becomes overcharged

Until 2022, the number of people in work in the Netherlands will grow by 520,000, which amounts to an average annual employment growth rate of 1.0%. Graduates of research universities and universities of applied sciences will have the best job prospects until 2022. People with a degree in technology, engineering or health care will have good to excellent job prospects, regardless of whether went to a school for senior secondary vocational education (MBO) or to a university. Employers will continue to struggle in the next few years to fill vacancies for technical staff and ICT specialists. The most significant employment growth is expected in the health care, wholesaling, specialist business consultancy and construction industries. Due to economic growth, there will be a greater demand for technically skilled staff, particularly in the construction industry. These are the main conclusions of the report entitled ‘De arbeidsmarkt naar opleiding en beroep tot 2022’ (The labour market by degree and profession until 2022), published by Maastricht University’s Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

Vacancies in technology and engineering, ICT, health care and education remain problem for employers
Over the next six years, employers will encounter staff shortages in technology and engineering, ICT and teaching-related professions. Some 87% of the vacancies for ICT specialists, particularly well-educated ITC specialists such as software and application developers, are expected to be difficult to fill. Schools will have a hard time finding the large number of primary school teachers required to replace the many teachers who are about to retire. In the tech industry, employers will have greater difficulty filling vacancies for such professions as electricians, electrical fitters, electrical engineers, architects, and technicians and technical engineers in construction and nature-related fields. Despite increased numbers of graduates with degrees in technology, engineering and computer science, there will continue to be a significant demand for employees in these fields. ‘This is partly because quite a few people with a degree in technology or engineering end up not seeking jobs in this field’, said the lead researcher, Prof. Didier Fouarge.

Partially due to the increase in health care costs, staff shortages are expected at both the higher and medium levels in the health care industry: doctors, physiotherapists, GP assistants, lab technicians and nurses with a senior secondary vocational degree.

Job prospects for highly educated people
On average, young people will have good job prospects in the next few years, but their likelihood of finding a job largely depends on their level of education and field of study. Generally, young people with a higher level of education will have better job prospects than young people with a lower level of education. Fifty percent of university graduates have good to excellent job prospects. This is particularly true for university graduates with a degree in technology, engineering, educational sciences, medicine and behavioural and social sciences. For their part, 43% of university of applied sciences graduates have good to excellent job prospects. This is particularly true for people with a degree in educational sciences, technology, engineering, agriculture or health care. ‘Furthermore, there are tracks at the senior secondary vocational level that come with good job prospects’, said Fouarge. ‘Students taking Level-4 vocational ‘nature and agriculture’, health care and technology degrees, and Level-2 or Level-3 vocational technology degrees are the most likely to find jobs. It is definitely not true that there is no demand for people with vocational degrees.’

Number of job openings until 2022 determined by retirees needing replacement
Due to people switching careers and temporarily or permanently leaving the job market, over 1.5 million workers will have to be replaced by 2022. This will result in an average 2.9% of the labour force needing to be replaced annually. These replacements account for nearly three-quarters of the total number of expected job openings. The remaining quarter is due to employment growth as a result of economic growth.

The demand for new employees replacing retiring employees is relatively high in the transportation, logistics and agriculture industries. ‘However’, Fouarge explained, ‘many pupils with a job on the side are active in these fields, and they tend to switch careers a lot. Therefore, the expected significant increase in job openings in these professions is accompanied by a relatively large supply of pupils looking for part-time jobs on the side. As a result, employers may not necessarily encounter staff shortages.’

Wage development of less and medium-level educated individuals lags behind that of the highly educated
The low economic growth rate and the reduced demand for employees during the global financial crisis resulted in reduced economic participation and reduced hourly wages for poorly educated and medium-skilled people. When the Dutch economy started to improve in 2014, less educated people’s economic participation increased, but their wages were further reduced. Medium-level educated people’s economic participation and wages have slightly increased in recent years. Highly educated people managed to keep their jobs during the global financial crisis by accepting lower wages or jobs for which they were overqualified. In other words, highly educated people’s economic participation rate hardly decreased during the crisis. Now that the economy is growing again, highly educated people’s wages are rising, as well, although they have not yet been restored to their pre-2011 levels.


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