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The Netherlands forecasts 88,000 jobs will be needed in 2024 for workers in healthcare, others

Employment opportunities in the Netherlands are set to grow this year and next, with a moderate job growth forecast of 0.8% (88,000 jobs) in 2024 and 0.7% (85,000 jobs) in 2025.

Sectors such as healthcare, welfare, and specialist business services are expected to see rapid job increases and will need workers.

This expected growth in two years is nearly equal to the job growth in 2023 alone, according to the head of labour market information and advisor, Rob Witjes.

According to him, “The growth is there, but it is slowing down and will be significantly lower than in previous years, according to the country’s benefits agency”.

He stated that this is partly due to slower economic growth and widespread staff shortages. Many companies wish to expand but struggle to find the necessary staff.

What he said

Witjes emphasized that sectors such as healthcare, welfare, and specialist business services are expected to see rapid job increases, as job numbers are stagnating or decreasing in agriculture, construction, public administration, industry, and transport and storage.

This job growth refers to new jobs created due to increased demand, unlike vacancies, which can also arise from employee turnover.

Part of the job growth stagnation is due to the current slow economy, but a major factor is a persistent tightness in the labor market,” Witjes noted.

But another major factor is the persistent tightness in the labor market; we see it in more and more sectors: companies want to grow, but they can’t find the people to do that.

There have been more vacancies than unemployed people for 2.5 years. “Unique from a historical perspective.

“Companies feel pain from this. The longer it lasts, the more it affects them. And the more creative they have to be.”

The UWV also expects vacancies to grow by 0.7% in 2024 and 0.8% in 2025.

That amounts to around 1.5 million vacancies per year, about 15% more than in 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic.

He admitted that staff shortages will continue in the coming years, as employees are becoming more scarce due to an aging population and a smaller supply of graduates.

However, he acknowledged that this is not always feasible for sectors like healthcare and education, two sectors with significant staff shortages and high expected job growth in the coming years.

Netherlands’s plans to limit immigration 

Witjes suggests that companies adjust their growth ambitions downward or look for alternatives, like automation as the new coalition has the ambition to limit immigration which will not help according to Witjes.

Earlier, the Netherlands came up with a manifesto which called for tighter border controls, swifter expulsions, restrictions on family reunification and the adjustment of provisions regarding temporary residence.

The right of permanent residence is planned to be abolished, and labor immigration to be further regulated, like the residence of foreign students.

The use of the Dutch language in higher education will be encouraged. Refugees and asylum seekers are to lose their privileged access to social housing.

What this means for Nigerians

The growth in opportunities in some sectors in The Netherlands has presented more opportunities for skilled Nigerian professionals.

  • However, with upcoming policies that will make it more difficult for immigrants to move to the Netherlands for work, family reunification, or education, this may present a challenge.
  • As the number of vacancies grows, and the Netherlands witnesses an aging population, hopefully, companies in the Netherlands may still look up to foreign immigrants to employ.
  • It is expected that the upcoming policies will not totally abolish immigrants from working in the Netherlands, but will introduce tighter rules which immigrants need to strictly adhere to.
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