Few construction workers returned to sector after crisis

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Graduates of the Konar Construction Center stand in a presenting line to greet Konar's governor and USAID officials.Picture: Wikimedia Commons/DVIDSHUB

Of the workers who left the construction sector after the economic crisis in 2008, only 15 percent returned to the sector before 2017, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday. Many found work in another industry. Another part retired or passed away in the meantime. 

Staff shortages increased significantly in construction over the past years. In addition to material shortage, the need for construction workers is seen as the main obstacle to growth in the sector, according to the stats office.

The personnel shortage follows a period in which the construction sector had to let many people go. This coincided with the start of the financial crisis in 2008. In that year 483 thousand people worked in the construction. Eight years later, 232 thousand of them had left the sector. In 2016 a third of the construction workers who left the sector had moved to another industry, a third was on welfare, around 10 percent had no registered income, and slightly less than 20 percent retired or died. 

Almost 36 thousand construction workers returned to the sector. That amounts to 15 percent of the leavers. 44 percent of them were on benefits prior to their return. Over a third came from a job in another industry, mainly from business services, according to Statistics Netherlands.

At the end of the second quarter of this year, the construction industry had 16,300 open vacancies - the highest number in ten years, according to NOS. At the same time, the number of new construction projects continue to rise. In the second quarter almost 4.4 billion euros worth of building permits were issued, over 10 percent more than a year earlier.