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20 oktober 2014

National Report: The Netherlands

The national report on the labour market position of vulnerable groups in the Netherlands is now available.

Like other European countries, the Dutch economy has been struggling with great difficulties as a result of the outbreak of the financial crisis by the end of 2008. The crisis was in first instance mainly dominated by the threat of failing banks and capital inflows from the government. Other challenges, such as financial shortfalls, risk-averse behaviour by banks and a growing feeling of uncertainty among investors, firms and households, resulted in an economic crisis that followed (Bijlsma & Suyker, 2008). Third, a fiscal crisis can be distinguished from the financial and economic crisis, caused due growing national debts and decreasing tax revenues (Kickert, 2012, pp. 442-443). The impact of the crisis on economy and thereby related decline in employment, has proven to be significant in the Netherlands and other European countries (Bigos et al., 2013).

Although decreasing levels of GDP growth have great influence on the resilience of labour markets, it is not the only factor that determines the performance of the labour market during a recession. Country-specific contextual factors, such as institutional structures, national and regional policies, social-cultural aspects and the industry structure, have a significant impact on the resilience of labour markets as well. Consequently, even countries who are comparable in terms of their welfare system, size and economy, like Belgium and the Netherlands, may differ in their responses to crisis as a result of their country-specific features. However, although these responses may differ, both countries could still achieve the same level of resilience (Fenger, Koster, Struyven & Van der Veen, 2014).

Against this background, this country report provides a qualitative assessment of the labour market position of vulnerable groups and country specific factors that contribute to labour market resilience in the Netherlands. The analysis concentrates particularly on the labour market positions of four vulnerable groups, namely, youth, migrants, elderly and disabled people. Consequently, this report contribute to the intentions of the INSPIRES-project to make European labour markets more inclusive and resilient.

This report starts with a historical overview of the Dutch labour market and social security system. In this section, the highlights and developments in labour market and social security policies will be shown from half the 19th century till the start of de 21st century.  Next, chapter two provides an overview of the Dutch labour market situation between 2000 and 2013 on both general developments as well as for vulnerable groups. Then, chapter three and four describes respectively the labour market position and key developments of vulnerable groups during the pre-crisis period (2000-2008) and during the crisis (2008-2013). Finally, chapter five provides a summary of the main factors affecting the resilience of the Dutch labour market and the position of vulnerable groups during the crisis.

Labour market resilience: The capacity of the labour markets to either resists, withstand or recover from challenges, by innovating through adjusting or re-orientating their structures, in order to maintain or improve its pre-shock state (Bigos et al., 2013, p. 20).

Click here for the report.

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