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Developments in the labour market

A growing group of people is unable (or no longer able) to meet the demands of the current labour market. Work is getting more and more complex and job demands are getting higher and higher. At the same time, a growing group of organisations has trouble filling in their vacancies. The labour market and people searching for jobs are no longer aligned and over time, this imbalance will likely cause large problems for the economy. For this reason, it’s important to enable everybody who is able to work, to actually work.


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Shift towards service oriented economy

The major cause of the distance created between the labour market and a growing group of people is the shift towards a service oriented economy. In western countries, circa 80 % of people who work nowadays, work in the service sector. Only 20 % work in the industrial or agricultural sectors. Only fifty years ago, it was exactly the other way around. This has caused work to become increasingly less physically demanding, and increasingly more mentally demanding.

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Work getting more and more complex and job demands getting higher and higher

Tasks at work have changed a lot, partly due to the shift towards a service oriented economy. Many tasks are, therefore, no longer suitable for people who are only able to perform more simple tasks. Physical strength usually is no requirement anymore, whereas mental ability and a higher level education are. In order to succeed, employees need technical, organisational ánd social skills.

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Difficulty filling vacancies


Organisations’ demands and standards are getting higher and higher. A growing portion of the labour force is unable to meet them. It becomes more difficult to find employees with the necessary qualifications, causing vacancies to remain unfilled for a long time. In western countries, the group of people retiring or otherwise being too old to work grows quicker than the group of young people entering the work force. Partly due to this, in time, there likely won’t be enough people to do all the work. This will certainly have major consequences for the economy.

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Stimulating work participation of the entire labour force

It would make a big difference if everybody who is able to work, would be enabled to work as well. It would not only help the people involved, but organisations and our economy as well. Sustainable employability is important for all employees; they need to be able to keep their jobs and work-related incidents causing them to drop out of the work force need to be prevented. This approach also makes a difference for people who are unable to participate independently in the current labour market.

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The Dutch agreement between government and organisations on creating jobs

The Dutch government and organisations and unions for both employers and employees wish to decrease the distance between the labour market and people who are currently unable to independently participate in it. For this reason, they drew up the so-called ‘Banenafspraak’ in 2013, an agreement aimed at creating jobs for people with a distance to the labour market. Dutch organisations must provide (in steps) 100,000 additional jobs for these people by 2026. The Dutch government must also provide additional jobs: 25,000 by 2026.

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Dutch law: Quotum Act for people with disabilities and limitations

Every year since 2016, the Dutch government checks whether organisations have provided enough additional jobs in accordance with the “Banenafspraak” for people who are unable to join the current labour market independently. If they haven’t, the Quotum Act may come into play.



It’s important to enable everybody who is able to work, to actually work.