Inclusive personnel policy not a priority for Dutch employers

Dutch employers give little to no priority to becoming more inclusive by, for example, hiring people with an occupational disability or older employees, according to a new report from social and cultural planning office SCP. Hiring people with a non-western migration background and increasing the number of women in top positions is also not a priority among Dutch employers, the SCP found, NOS reports.

"Normally, more attention is paid to personnel policy if it goes well economically", researcher Patricia van Echtelt said to the broadcaster. "Then employers are more likely to hire people with a non-western migration background, or people with an occupational disability. But now we don't see that development strongly."

According to SCP, many sectors in the public sector more actively pursue policies to become more inclusive than sectors in the private sector. Frontrunners are education, healthcare and the government. "We especially notice that the size of the organization matters. If you have 2 thousand employees, it is easier to include inclusiveness in your personnel policy than if you have nine employees", Van Echtelt said. "You have more room for that."

The number of employees with a non-western background has increased slightly since 2003, but not significantly, Van Echtelt said.

The percentage of people over the age of 55 also increased in the past 15 years, from 8 to 17 percent. "That also has to do with the increasing retirement age", Van Echtelt said. 39 percent of employers said that their policies aimed at older employees have the highest priority. "That is less in hiring that group and mainly in the sustainable deployment of that group. For example, by having them work part-time or by giving them a somewhat less challenging range of duties."

Around 69 percent of employers told the SCP researchers that they feel responsible for hiring people with an occupational disability, but only 11 percent said that they will actually do so. 44 percent said they would consider it. "The reason for this is that employers indicate that there are no suitable positions for people with a work disability, or that there is little capacity to guide them", Van Echtelt said to NOS. 

The researchers also found that employers are not familiar with the regulations around hiring people with an occupational disability. No-risk regulations in the event of illness and disability, and discounts on social insurance are least known to employers.

The fact that increasing the number of women in top positions is not a priority in Dutch business, was already known. D66 parliamentarian Vera Bergkamp and social and economic council SER both recently suggested a quota on this front. Employers organization VNO-NCW supported the idea.