Despite the expected slowdown of economic growth, more than two million job openings are expected in the coming six years

Worker shortages in engineering, healthcare and teaching set to persist

Despite the expected slowdown of economic growth, more than two million job openings are expected in the coming six years. This translates into good job prospects for graduates who will enter the labour market. Between now and 2024, the best employment opportunities will go to bachelor’s and master’s graduates. The present shortage of qualified graduates in engineering, healthcare and teaching is expected to persist at all job levels. By contrast, the current poor job prospects for graduates of intermediate vocational education (MBO) in the fields of economics and business administration are unlikely to improve. These are the findings of the report ‘The labour market by education and profession until 2024’ by Maastricht University’s Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

Demand for replacement workers

In the coming six years, some 1.6 million workers are expected to need replacing as they retire, take up (temporary) care responsibilities, change career paths or leave the labour market for other reasons. The demand to replace these employees will account for 75% of all job openings. Replacement workers will be in highest demand in the fields of commerce, economics and business administration, transport and logistics, and the technical professions. ‘Except for the technical professions, however, there is adequate supply in most of these areas’, warns the research leader Didier Fouarge. The remainder of the job openings will come about thanks to the creation of new jobs for an additional 464,700 workers. ‘The ICT professions in particular are booming: more than half of the job openings in IT are the result of new job creation, especially at the higher vocational level and upwards.’

Job growth in healthcare and technology

The greatest growth is expected in the healthcare and wellbeing sectors and in the technical professions. In healthcare (due to growth) and education (due to the high demand for replacement workers), the supply of labour lags behind demand, and recruitment remains a problem. The same holds for the engineering sector with respect to graduates at the MBO, bachelor’s and master’s levels, with the additional problem that graduates often end up working in other sectors. ‘The skills acquired are also valued outside engineering’, Fouarge explains. Only the agricultural professions are shrinking, particularly due to the use of technology.

Higher proportion of highly skilled workers in the Netherlands

Approximately 1.6 million graduates are expected to enter the labour market between 2019 and 2024. The number of graduates is not increasing compared to recent years, but demographic developments mean their composition is changing. Fewer graduates of MBO levels 2 and 3 are expected to enter the labour market, whereas more graduates are expected from MBO level 4 and the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Graduates’ job prospects in the coming six years are determined by the expected number of new entrants to the labour market and the expected number of job openings. The best job prospects are expected for bachelor’s and master’s graduates in mechanical engineering, bachelor’s graduates in electrical engineering, and graduates of MBO level 4 construction & infrastructure and horticulture & landscaping. The worst job prospects are for graduates of MBO level 4 media design, MBO level 4 commercial services, MBO level 3 retail and wholesale, bachelor’s graduates in psychology and social sciences, and master’s graduates in art. ‘This is not to say graduates from those fields will necessarily be unemployed, but it’s likely to be harder for them to find a suitable job, and the employment conditions will be disappointing’, [A1]  Fouarge says. In his view, the disparities in expected job prospects between different fields of study suggest that ‘career guidance in schools should pay more attention to the labour market prospects of different study programmes.’

  Also read the interview with research leader Didier Fouarge: "Training is not just for the labour market"


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