Employers: solving staff shortages with less part-time work

There is hardly any staff in some sectors. Signs with this call are posted at various shops and catering establishments, and countless vacancies are also available on job boards.

According to Statistics Netherlands, in August, for the first time since the measurement started in 2003, the tension in the labor market had risen to such an extent that there are more vacancies than unemployed people. In the second quarter of 2021, there were 106 unfilled vacancies for every 100 unemployed.

Part-time champion

It is not the case that the staff is not there, according to the AWVN. There are also many people at home. Raymond Puts, director of the employers’ association, points out that ‘1 million people are inactive on the sidelines and that the Netherlands is still part-time champion.’

The policy needs to be overhauled, according to Puts. “When it comes to labor market participation, there is a world to be won. Women, the elderly and people with a migration background work relatively less often and less hours than men with a Dutch background. If these gaps are closed, even if only partially, then the shrinkage of the working population will disappear completely,” the AWVN outlines in a report that will be presented at a conference this afternoon.

In no other developed country in the world do people work on average so few hours in paid work as in the Netherlands, the employers’ association points out.

AWVN advises employers: “In the case of extra work or a vacant vacancy, investigate whether there are employees who want to work more hours. Many part-timers say they are positive about such a request.”


More time should also be spent on employee development. “Employers will have to do more on this point than has been the case until now. It’s not just about allocating development budgets, but also freeing up development time.”

More can also be expected from the employees. The innocence has to go away. “Learning is not ‘by the way’, but is an indispensable part of good performance. An employee may therefore also be assessed on this during a performance interview,” advises the organization.

No early retirement

The outflow must also decrease. Employees in some sectors have been able to retire earlier since 1 January thanks to the Early Retirement Scheme (RVU). This scheme was intended for people with a difficult profession, but other employees also make use of it. “With the relaxation of early retirement, it has become attractive again to retire earlier,” the AWVN notes.

Finally, director Puts asks for a different government policy. “The next cabinet must make work more rewarding. It is inexplicable that someone who starts working more will hardly see anything in return because of higher taxes and no allowances.”


Some part-time employees want to work more. This is apparent from research presented by Statistics Netherlands in August. This concerns 354,000 people who have their first job and want to start working more hours within six months, if their income increases.

However, the number of interested parties is decreasing. In 2020, there were still 406,000 part-timers who wanted to work more hours in the second quarter. However, that measurement was taken just after the start of the corona crisis, when many people were forced to partially stay at home.

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