Companies at the Port of Rotterdam lose millions due to staff shortages
Businesses that use the Port of Rotterdam are experiencing an unprecedented staff shortage. A Nieuwsuur survey reveals that they are losing hundreds of millions of euros as a result, according to the NOS.
The port employs over 380,000 people, but it also has 8,000 jobs openings, including for lawyers and engineers. Many companies must turn down customers because they are understaffed. Companies say they are losing around 10 percent of their turnover on average because they must often say "no" to potential customers, the NOS reports.
The accessibility of the port and physicality of the work might be some reasons why there are so many vacancies, Ton Wilthagen, professor of the labor market, told the NOS. "Not everyone can do that. If the port does not reflect society, you don't feel at home there. It is also an image problem."
Ultimately, there are multiple reasons for the staff shortage and no quick fix, Wilthagen said. Decision makers will need to "turn all the knobs" –– finding young people, migrants and people on welfare to fill the job openings.
One expert, Fabian Dekker of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, suggested that employers are still selective about who they hire even though there is a staff shortage. Dekker conducted research with over 120 business owners at the port.
However, Mike Oldenburg, operational director of the Steinweg Group, disagreed with this assessment. He told the NOS that he would hire anyone who showed up on time and who could make their own sandwich and tie their own shoelaces. "[Harbor work] is not as physical as it was 50 years ago," he said. "Of course you need certain skills, but we can teach you a lot."