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Netherlands – Staffing firms feel the pinch

17 April 2013

All eyes will be on Randstad next week when the Dutch recruiter is publishing its trading results for the first three months of the year. Tough economic conditions have so far caused revenue declines among many Dutch staffing firms and new data suggests little improvement.

Between February and March (weeks 9 to 12), staffing companies reported that turnover fell -1%. A monthly update from the Dutch federation of private employment agencies (ABU) also shows that the number of hours worked by temporary workers dropped -3% in the period.

For months, the medical sector has been one of the worst affected industries. Turnover in this sector fell by -17%, compared to a -16% decline in the number of hours worked. In the administrative sector, the slowdown eased with firms reporting flat turnover and a -2% decrease in hours worked.

The picture was mixed for other sectors. In the industrial sector, turnover was up +1% despite a -2% decline in the number of hours worked. In the technical industries, turnover fell -4% and hours dropped -6%.

A recovery of the Dutch staffing market is not expected this year. According to market forecasts by Staffing Industry Analysts, recruiters should prepare for further months of deterioration in 2013 although prospects are likely to improve during the course of the year.

Analysts expect Randstad to report challenging market conditions next week. The fourth quarter remained tough for the firm, including in the Netherlands where revenue continued to fall. 

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