Gov't can do more against labor market inequalities, planning offices say
The Dutch labor market is a different place for people with diverse backgrounds, and these large and persistent problems are only exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, according to central planning office CPB and social planning office SCP. There are still plenty of places where the government can intervene to address these problems, the planning offices said, NOS reports.
"We know from the recent past that people with a migration background are hit extra hard during a crisis," Egbert Jongen of the CPB said. "Feelings of exclusion through discrimination, for example, could be reinforced by this."
Currently, 61 percent of Netherlands residents with a non-Western background have paid work. That is 8 percent less than people with majority background. From an international point of view, that is a bad score, the CPB said. There are also remarkably few Dutch-Turkish or Dutch-Moroccan women on the labor market.
Labor participation among people with a diverse background could be improved with certain tax measures. The planning offices suggested two. First, increase the employed person's tax credit, so that less tax is paid on the hours worked. Secondly, increase the childcare allowance, to stimulate the labor participation of women in particular. "Women with a migration background respond more strongly to an increase in the childcare allowance than women without a migration background," the CPB said.
People with diverse backgrounds have less chance of finding work in the Netherlands, even if they have equal education and work experience as the other applicants. This is due to conscious and unconscious discrimination. Employers can fight this by making use of demonstrably successful measures like anonymous CVs, ensuring that every interview is the same, and agreeing on the hiring criteria before the interview, the planning offices said.
The SCP and CPB also pointed out the valuable time lost by only helping asylum seekers and other migrants look for work once they have a residency permit. This process should be started the moment it is clear that the person has a chance of getting residency, they said. Placement policy should also take work opportunities into account. Someone with technical skills would do better in Eindhoven than in the Groningen region, for example.