More and more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are suffering from a shortage in the labor market. The Central Bureau of Statistics sees that the staff shortage within this group has continued to increase.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the percentage of entrepreneurs for whom staff shortages were a problem was higher than ever measured, according to the statistical office, based on the annual report on the SME sector of the Netherlands Committee for Entrepreneurship. This applies to both SMEs and large companies (250 employees or more). There are also shortages outside SMEs. Grid operators have already pointed out that an acute shortage of technicians is hampering the implementation of the Climate Agreement. The railways had to cancel rides because rail manager Prorail did not have enough traffic controllers.
The staff shortage also applies to all branches of industry, but the catering industry was most affected by not enough workers. Of the small businesses, the rental sector and other business services, such as employment agencies and car rental companies, suffered the most from staff shortages.
On the other hand, next year there will be “significantly more” companies that are thinking of taking on more staff, according to Statistics Netherlands.
Open vacancies at record level
In medium-sized companies (20 to 250 employees), more than 38 percent of entrepreneurs expect to hire more staff next year. A year earlier this was almost 9 percent. Small businesses (5 to 50 employees) also expect a staff increase compared to last year. In 2020, that estimate was a 2 percent increase in personnel, for next year it will be 25 percent. On balance, the number of entrepreneurs in the non-financial sector that foreseen staff expansion is also higher compared to the years before the corona pandemic.
At the end of the second quarter, the number of unfilled vacancies in SMEs reached a record level of 187,000. That is 82 percent more than the same period last year. After the outbreak of the corona crisis, there were 103,000 vacancies, 36 percent less than in 2019. A total of 334,000 vacancies are now open in the Netherlands, of which SMEs account for more than half. People lost their jobs due to the corona crisis. Government support has also allowed many companies to retain staff.
Read about the labor market also:
- 5 trends in the labor market: employers would rather provide better fringe benefits than higher wages
- ProRail is struggling with personnel shortages, which is now disrupting the timetable of the Dutch Railways
- Corona jobs of the GGD compete with the catering industry – shortage of staff can become structural.