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Recipients of unemployment benefits should make greater use of temporary employment agencies, the Dutch Lodewijk Asscher Minister of Social Affairs said last week, addressing Members of Parliament. The Minister emphasised the unemployed must also accept temporary work, which provides valuable work experience and boosts their confidence.
Recent research conducted by his department showed that only one third of unemployment benefits recipients are registered with an employment agency; and most of them are not inclined to travel too far for new jobs.
Asscher made his comments after Matthijs Huizing from the majority centre-right VVD party (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy)had argued that unskilled work in the Netherlands was done mostly by workers coming from Eastern European, while a large group of Dutch happily settled at home and lived on unemployment benefits.
Asscher added that those who able to work should also work, however,the Minister argued that he was not in favour of a mandatory registration with employment agencies for the unemployed.
This is also the opinion of Erik Stam, a labour market expert from the UWV (Employee Insurance Institute). His advice to job seekers is that they should broaden their horizon “beyond your previous job and consider other sectors or regions. Then it is more likely that you will find work. If you are welder, you will easily find a job; especially in those sectors where Dutch business have a strong competitive advantage.''
On the other hand, according to Dennis Versnel, manager of the Luba staffing agency in Haarlem, while the unemployment figures are increasing, “we also see an increase in the amount of people registering with us”.
“We also want people to apply for jobs that do not match their training or experience. Which they do once they have to apply to the Job Centre (UWV) or because they desperately want to find work,'' added Versnel.
At the same time, Versnel notices that employers are increasingly picky with candidates and the time it takes to fill vacancies is increasing accordingly. “Employers hope for the ultimate perfect match. We also notice that they tend to hire people on a project basis for roles that they would previously offer as permanent positions.''
According to Versnel, warehouse staff are currently in strong demand, especially forklift operators and production staff. The drug industry has toned down a bit but is expected to pick up in December. The hospitality sector has become slightly unpredictable as last minute over the internet is gaining popularity, which means that we can expect sudden demand for staff, according to Versnel.