Dutch PM invites Europe’s skilled unemployed youth to the Netherlands

Dutch PM invites Europe’s skilled unemployed youth to the Netherlands

5th July 2013, Comments 9 comments

A shortage of skilled workers in the Netherlands has influenced the Dutch PM to urge skilled European workers to move into the country’s energy and technical sectors.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte invited skilled unemployed workers to move into the energy sector in North Groningen, as well as the technical sector in Southeast Brabant, following a summit held last Wednesday in Berlin addressing Europe’s increasing youth unemployment.

“Quality workforces, for example, in Italy, with several years of work experience, are welcome in places where Dutch companies are struggling to find skilled staff,” Rutte said.

Rutte stressed that the Dutch government was focused on training local youths for technical professions in the energy sector in Groningen and Eindhoven. However, until the young people were ready for the labour market, the Netherlands still needed well-educated young people from abroad to fill the gaps.

Lessons from Germany
Rutte said the amount of young people coming to the Netherlands was a lot less than what Germany received. It is therefore not applicable to speak about ‘guest workers’ he said.

Following the summit, which was an initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rutte said that although the Netherlands did not have much to learn from Germany in the field of tackling youth unemployment, lessons could be drawn from Germany’s general labour policies.

For example, Germany began to increase wages moderately during times of prosperity in the 1990s. As a result, German companies now have competitive labour conditions compared to companies in other countries, which is helpful for attracting skilled workforces from abroad.

Little help for the Netherlands
EU’s leaders in Berlin discussed the possibilities to help combat youth unemployment, and agreed to allocate some EUR 8 billion for countries where youth unemployment was higher than 25 percent.

Southern European countries, in particular, have recorded considerably high unemployment rates among people under 25 years in the wake of deep recessions. Spain and Greece, for example, recorded youth unemployment rates between 55 and 60 percent, and Portugal and Italy around 40 percent. In Croatia, an EU member since Monday, youth unemployment is also high at 52 percent.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher, who along with Rutte also participated in the summit in Berlin, pointed out that the large differences among EU countries still remained a big issue. According to Asscher, southern European countries needed to reform their labour markets quicker and make them more flexible. In Spain, for example, rigid labour laws often make it too risky for employers to hire new personnel in the current crisis.

In contrast, the Netherlands recorded just over 10 percent unemployment. Only Germany and Austria scored better within the Eurozone. As such, it is unlikely these countries will receive any of the allocated aid to simulate youth employment.

Merkel: “It won’t happen overnight”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on the summit saying that the problem of youth unemployment in Europe can only be solved by implementing the right policies.

"We have deliberately not talked about the money we have available, but on the actions we can take to increase chances in the labour market for  young people,” said Merkel. "We must acknowledge and communicate in a clear way that we cannot solve the problem overnight.”

The money allocated for countries with high rates of unemployment was made available last week, however, as it was released as part of the EU multi-year budget, it may not be spent until 2014 and 2015.


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ANP, Reuters / Expatica

9 Comments To This Article

  • carrico posted:

    on 17th July 2013, 13:40:09 - Reply

    HTD: Thanks for the structural analysis. There seems to be lack of connection/understanding between, I don't know, intellect and emotion on this issue. On PressEurop there are periodic arguments over the need for a common language. But which one? I recently discovered even sign language is not universal, it has national variations. Funny/sad.
  • carrico posted:

    on 12th July 2013, 02:00:24 - Reply


    Hah! U 8 cake, right?
  • Juan posted:

    on 10th July 2013, 22:40:45 - Reply


    When I lived in the Netherlands twice, I didn't eat bread
  • carrico posted:

    on 10th July 2013, 16:51:31 - Reply

    Whoa, Kevin,what an interesting point! I've talked to Dutch guys, bitter about not being able to go to university. They're smart guys, too. The Dutch men I admire are the guys working on the really old buildings. Some seem to have a young apprentice with them. Tradition. Bet they get real good wages, too.
  • Kevin L. posted:

    on 9th July 2013, 02:15:43 - Reply

    I'm no expert... but has Rutte asked himself (or his constituents) WHY there is, and has been, a shortage of unskilled workers in Holland?

    The answer is low wages!! Once the Netherlands stops making believe there is some mystery to this issue, and pay competitive wages, the country will be able to keep their own skilled workers from moving to the USA and Canada!
  • HTD posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 20:28:12 - Reply

    @Winnie: "...how can you be highly skilled, a youth, and unemployed??",
    Economists refer to it as "Structural Unemployment". There is no magic wand that guarantees that those trained and educated to be highly skilled employees will have matching jobs available in the areas where they now live.
    Many firms have been going bankrupt recently putting many highly skilled workers on the street through no fault of their own.
    Here in the NL, Dutch universities are regularly critcized for not better connecting their training to more closely relate to what skills and knowledge Dutch firms badly need.
    Another imporrtant factor are the unnecessary language barriers barring skilled workers from other language cultures from moving to areas where jobs exist. This is a big problem in Europe, but not a problem at all for the US and Canada, where one language, English fits all.
  • Winnie posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 17:30:28 - Reply

    This article makes zero sense how can you be highly skilled, a youth, and unemployed?? I would assume they are hiring YOUNG people whom they can train to do the work they are asking for. It sounds like they learned their job when they were 5 years old and suddenly became unemployed at 18 but they have been working their job half their life.
  • carrico posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 16:51:19 - Reply

    Or move to Lisbon, whose highly-skilled workers will soon be moving to Groningen, where they can work/study.
  • elvis posted:

    on 5th July 2013, 14:26:17 - Reply

    If you want to eat bread and cheese everyday for lunch and ride bikes at -5 degrees in winter learn a language only 16 million people speak and get a salary of half what you would get in Northern America (US or Canada), then you are welcome. Otherwise, move to the US or Canada.