Retiring Randstad CEO: ‘Everyone has to get to work’

Van den Broek has been head of the temporary employment group since 2014. Randstad is currently benefiting from the improving economy: the demand for temporary workers is clearly picking up. Will the hosanna remain for the company?

The labor market is tight. When is that going to bother Randstad?

“That will not hinder us. Now that the economy is recovering very quickly, there is of course a lot of tension in the labor market. We also know that there will be structural scarcity. But we have foreseen that. At the same time, for example, in the Netherlands we have a million people who want to work or want to work more.

Because we have the largest database in the world with more than 200 million people, we can talk to our customers about what is available. Last year we also trained 13,000 people in the Netherlands to change jobs or to fill their jobs differently. So we think that the shortage will not affect us, but that we can be part of the solution.”

Where do you see the shortage right now?

“Covid is over, and the old problems are back. Those are the sectors such as education, health care, logistics and everything in technology and technology. We have to work together there.

For example, many part-timers want to work more hours. That is not always easy, but it is possible. People also need to be moved to other courses and other jobs. During the corona crisis, we have seen that this is possible. For example, we have had many people in testing and vaccination who came from completely different sectors but could be prepared for this in the short term.”

The SER is looking for a solution in ‘flex less flex and fixed less fixed’. What do you think of that?

“It’s not about the comparison between permanent and flex. There are well-regulated jobs and poorly regulated jobs. In the Netherlands, many people are in poorly regulated jobs, and we have to do something about that. But that is not the solution. The solution is “Everyone in work. People have to move from non-work to work. And from work that we know is disappearing, such as administrative jobs, to sectors where there is demand.”

How do we get people who want to work (more) to work?

“At the moment we do not have a good enough picture of those people. In Rotterdam, for example, there are currently 38,000 people on benefits. You have to follow them much more directly, and have to set up a very personal mediation. We have to identify where the demand is, and where the supply is, and then match that very intensively.

It is difficult for people to change sector. For example, during covid we approached 13,000 people with a free education or training, which was used by 7 percent. That’s less than a thousand people. Such a switch is a major decision, in which people must be helped.

We have to do this together with the government. We therefore advocate much closer cooperation with the public employment services. At the moment we do have collaborations, for example at municipal level such as the Baanbreaking project. But it’s too small. We have to move forward together.”

Enough to do, yet you stop as CEO of Randstad. Why?

“What is important is that I leave Randstad in good condition and with a future-proof strategy. And that is the case; my successor Sander van ‘t Noordende is coming in a spread bed. I still have a lot of fun with it, but I look again after 34 years. So that’s quite exciting. But I’ve been in employment for a long time, so I will undoubtedly be able to find something for myself again.”

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