The Pandemic Uncovered Staffing Issues, What’s Next?

As labor markets recover from the pandemic, the Dutch case stands out among all countries. What did that represent for staffing practices? How can HR recruiters respond?

The expected scenario: Long-term unemployment

What are labor markets expected to look like during the recovery period? 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries (if not all) forcefully shut down their economies to control and prevent the further spread of the virus. As a result, unemployment levels rose significantly. Many theorized that these would not come down for a while; at least not until the world could see the end of the pandemic. Or, until global markets could learn how to operate efficiently alongside the pandemic. Whichever came first. 

Yet, in The Netherlands, the case was different. The unemployment rate not only fell back almost immediately, but their issue became about not having enough workers available. 

The actual scenario: A market full of unfulfilled opportunities

As of December 2021, the latest unemployment rate recorded in The Netherlands was 3.8%. It is currently one of the lowest rates in Europe, which is remarkable since it was achieved just one year after the pandemic. 

However, while this percentage has been dropping, the number of vacancies available is only rising. By the end of Q3 last year, there were 126 vacancies for every 100 unemployed people. Most of the job slots are in trade, business services, healthcare, catering, IT, logistics, construction, transportation, and energy. ProRail had to reduce their number of in-service trains due to difficulties finding workers with adequate training to run the shifts. Similarly, an energy company that services Noord Holland currently faces a backlog in installations for the same reasons. 

In other words, the Dutch labor market is currently undergoing a staffing crisis. The number of opportunities outnumbers the talent available. This scarcity is making several companies struggle to meet their potential. 

Why are there not enough professionals available?

The shortage of professionals links back to the pandemic and other factors that have already been shaping the Dutch workforce for a few years. 

For starters, the first hit that COVID had on 2020 pushed a lot of foreign workers back to their home countries. Now, two years later, the number of migrant workers in The Netherlands has not returned to their pre-pandemic digits. This leaves several spots available and unclaimed. 

Moreover, the Dutch workforce has struggled with an aging population for years. The issue worsens as students feel uncertain to enter a job market that keeps on changing with new variants and new restrictions every other month. So, the workforce is retiring, but no newcomers are filling their roles.

What to do? 

Such a situation is challenging for any company to navigate.

Recruiting and headhunting are costly and energy-consuming processes, even in an ideal scenario. If you want to fill your hiring needs in-house, you need a dedicated team with enough time and local knowledge to manage the project from A to Z. This can be a challenge if you already are short-handed. Using limited resources to find the perfect candidate in a job market that does not have enough talent available? A living HR nightmare. 

The good thing is that there are other solutions. For instance, employers can outsource staffing and executive recruitment services from specialized companies. The value that outsourcing can add to the employer’s daily operations and long-term goals is far greater than the investment needed. 

With so many open positions, businesses need to fight to land the most qualified candidate(s). To win the battle, they need as much leverage as possible. 

Recruitment and staffing firms can provide this leverage by:

  • Sourcing for EU and non-EU talent and bringing them to The Netherlands, with all legal and travel details arranged: 
    • Particularly beneficial in The Netherlands, where the number of local candidates does not meet the market’s needs, but hiring from abroad can be cost-exhaustive and legally complex for many businesses. 
  • Count with brand visibility and local networks that attract more talent than a regular company:
    • If your company does not have local knowledge on hiring trends or talent hubs, or if it does not have a brand reputation that naturally attracts candidates, it might be significantly harder to know where to start looking. However, specialized firms do. Working with them will automatically put you ahead in the game.
  • Guidance with legal and onboarding matters:
    • Especially with newly developed policies resulting from the pandemic, you want to make sure you and your new employee cover all fronts. Also, now most of the workforce prefers to work with flexible contracts. Yet, you won’t have to worry about drafting such a contract or including them on your payroll. Your partnering agency will take care of it for you. 

If all the above sounds like the type of benefits your company needs right now, then lucky you! You are in the right place. 

WTS Energy has over 20 years of experience providing specialized recruitment and staffing, headhunting services to companies in the Energy Industry – Oil, Gas, and Renewables- and manufacturing sector. We are a Dutch company with a strong footprint in Europe. We also count with IND certification, meaning we can bring non-EU workers to The Netherlands with full legal compliance and grant foreign professionals the 30% ruling on their taxes. Our work with several local and regional companies who trust us to help them build their teams motivates us every day. Because in the end, we believe that it is all about the people.  

If you want to see your company grow and reach its full potential, contact us

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