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Netherlands – Unskilled jobseekers put off registering with agencies

21 August 2012

Dutch unskilled jobseekers do not make optimal use of temporary work agencies, according to a report published by the policy think tank Astri. This study examines the perceptions of employers, jobseekers and public employment services workers on the issue of matching supply and demand for unskilled labour.

The Astri survey highlighted that only 45% of unskilled jobseekers on unemployment benefits are registering with a temporary work agency; the proportion goes down to 33% for those claiming other benefits. Furthermore, unskilled jobseekers are often told by recruiters at temporary work agencies that they cannot help them, suggesting that temporary work agencies select and register only the most promising candidate. The majority of job seekers in this study have been unemployed for over a year and feel they lack the necessary support to go back to work.

On the other hand, the study shows employers of unskilled labour have no trouble filling jobs; over a third of vacancies are filled within a week and 83% of vacancies within four weeks. About 15% of vacancies are filled by jobseekers on unemployment benefits and 13% by migrants from Central and Eastern European countries (especially in agriculture); the remaining 72% of vacancies are filled by unskilled workers already in employment and labour market entrants.

Public employment services nevertheless encourage jobseekers to register with temporary work agencies, emphasising the stepping stone effect of temporary work. But the study identified that jobseekers may be reluctant to take on a temporary job because of the administrative burden involved in closing (and reopening) the unemployment benefits, as they fear the process may delay due payments.

To read the full report in Dutch language, click here.

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