Labor market shortage can prevent wave of layoffs in the Netherlands
Residents should not expect that the wave of layoffs announced by large American companies will lead to that trend continuing in the Netherlands. Employers in the United States are generally more radical when it comes to firing employees, said experts Tom Wilthagen and Rob Witjes earlier this week. They believe the unprecedentedly tight labor market will force organizations in the Netherlands think twice before letting staff go.
"After all that effort in recruiting employees, you don't just let them leave," said Wilthagen, who is a professor at Tilburg University with expertise on the labor market. Employers will really want to retain these workers, he continued. Witjes agreed. He is also a labor market expert, and works for the benefits agency UWV.
"But as a company you shouldn't wait too long, because then things can really take a turn for the worse with your business," Witjes said. He added that many layoffs will still follow if the recession is severe enough or important companies go bankrupt.
And although "each individual dismissal is of course annoying" Witjes believes the scarcity of staff can also quickly allow dismissed employees to secure a new job. Wilthagen and Witjes both see that the Dutch labor market shortage is above average. "In other times we should be concerned about these layoffs, but now there is the reassurance that there is a great demand for people," Witjes said. He called the wave of layoffs in the United States rather logical, with tech giants Microsoft and Google's parent company Alphabet among firms that have slashed at least 10,000 jobs.
However, the number of redundancies and unemployed people will also increase in the Netherlands due to the worsening economic situation, Witjes added. "It often takes about nine months before you really notice that influence on the labor market, but you can see that happening now. These will be tense months, with more reports about companies that are going to lay off people."
The Eindhovens Dagblad also announced on Friday that a thousand jobs will disappear at medical technology company Philips in the Netherlands. According to Wilthagen, however, this need not be a sign of a wave of redundancies starting. According to the professor, the Dutch cases, which previously included webshop Bol.com and solar car maker Lightyear, are isolated with specific situations affecting those firms.
"I'm not immediately worried about it."
Reporting by ANP