Regio Stedendriehoek's Approach to Tackling Labour Market Challenges in Apeldoorn and Beyond

Regio Stedendriehoek's Approach to Tackling Labour Market Challenges in Apeldoorn and Beyond

Regio Stedendriehoek Sheds Light on the Current Labour Market Challenges

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' CEO, Maggie Feng, recently attended a meeting hosted by board members of the Regio Stedendriehoek to discuss pressing labour market challenges facing both the region of Apeldoorn, Deventer and Zutphen, as well as the broader Netherlands.

On 19 September, Feng joined thought leaders and other experts at a pivotal gathering in Zutphen, which coincided with Prinsjesdag, the Dutch national budget day.

According to data supplied by the employee insurance agency of the Netherlands, UVW, the country is currently grappling with a labour market crisis, with persistent staff shortages across various sectors, including information technology. These shortages have led to a surge in workload for existing employees and a decline in production capacity for many businesses. This scarcity of human resources has also translated into challenges in essential areas such as healthcare, public safety and education.

Regio Stedendriehoek's Approach to Tackling Labour Market Challenges in Apeldoorn and Beyond

The current labour market

Judith Duveen, the National Director of the UWV (Landelijk Directeur Werkbedrijf), delivered an enlightening presentation during the event, offering an insight into the labour market's current state. She translated macro-level data into a regional context, outlining the daunting challenges posed by an ageing workforce and the need for creative solutions to bridge the employment gap. 

Duveen's insights were particularly relevant given the current climate of the Netherlands, where more than 850,000 individuals, representing 10% of the workforce, are aged 60 or older. In the Stedendriehoek and Noordwest Veluwe region, this percentage rises to 12%. Moreover, the public administration and transport sectors are experiencing the highest proportion of older employees, at 16% nationally and 17% within the region. 

According to Duveen, this labour market situation, with its multifaceted challenges, demands innovative approaches and collective action. Employers are increasingly exploring various avenues, from extending the duration of job postings to engaging with recruitment agencies. However, as the event highlighted, even greater creativity and flexibility is required to tackle these issues effectively.

Addressing real-world problems

Feng's participation in the event stemmed from Wittenborg's unwavering commitment to fortify the region's strategic vision for the future. She underscored the significant demographic challenge facing Apeldoorn – an aging population – and emphasised the dedication of board members to collaborative decision making, driven by well-informed insights. Their collective goal is to bolster the region's competitiveness and appeal to prospective employers. 

"It is our duty to actively engage in discussions about the labour market and provide our insights, leveraging our diverse and international perspective. As an institution dedicated to preparing students for the global workforce, we grasp the importance of addressing labour shortages, benefiting not only businesses but society at large."

The event concluded with a call to action for all stakeholders to collaborate, innovate and contribute to sustainable solutions for the labour market challenges faced by the Netherlands.

WUP 3/11/2023
by Erene Roux
©WUAS Press