Make teachers, healthcare workers work longer to reduce shortages: SER
To ensure that the Netherlands has enough teachers, healthcare workers, and Defense personnel in the future, the Cabinet must encourage them to work more hours in the short term, the Social and Economic Council (SER) advised. The Cabinet asked the SER for advice to help with its plan to tackle staff shortages in the public sector, which it will present in the summer, NOS reports.
"If we want to keep the public facilities up to standard, we will all have to work more," said economist Bas ter Weel of the SER. The Cabinet must ensure more work is worth it by lower taxes. "It is always up to people to decide how much they work, but we know that through encouragement and stimulation, people are prepared to work more."
Teachers and healthcare staff, in particular, work part-time relatively often. Some would like to work more, the SER said. "Contract extension is often not a topic of discussion because the idea is that the employee or the employer does not want it."
Part of getting people to work more is ensuring that there is enough childcare. This, too, is limited by staff shortages. Over the next ten years, the childcare sector will need 50,000 additional employees to keep up with demand. The sector organization recently said that childcare is in a "permanent crisis situation."
The SER also said the government should tackle the untapped labor potential of 1.3 million people in the Netherlands who want to work more hours or who are currently unemployed. The Cabinet could also try to get more pensioners back to work, the SER said. "This group of vital elderly people will increase sharply in the coming years."
The advice is vague on the use of migrant workers to decrease staff shortages. The European Union wants to make it easier for migrant workers from outside the EU to come work here. The SER said that migrant workers could be a solution, but first wants to investigate in which sectors they can be used best. The Council did advise the Cabinet to help refugees find work more quickly.
In the long term, the SER said the government should make work in shortage sectors more attractive by reducing regulatory pressure. Work more with permanent contracts and focus more on diversity so that the government is a more attractive employer, the SER said.