130.000 jobs available in the Dutch healthcare sector
The number of vacancies in the Dutch healthcare sector is increasing, and according to figures from the Employee Insurance Agency UWV, this year, around 130.000 job openings will need to be filled.
Dutch healthcare jobs difficult to fill
Despite the great number of jobs in the Netherlands on offer in the healthcare sector, they are proving difficult to fill. In mid-2016 to mid-2017, 51 percent of healthcare companies in the Netherlands struggled with hard-to-fill vacancies. At hospitals, homecare, nursing homes and the GGZ (Dutch Association of Mental Health and Addiction Care) this percentage was even higher, with 80 percent of these organisations finding it difficult to find staff.
The UWV predicts a deficit of 100.000 healthcare employees, and especially nurses, for the next four years. This year, the nursing demand will rise by 1,5 percent, which is remarkable after years of job losses in this area. It is not just nurses who are in demand in the Netherlands, hearing care professionals, opticians, optometrists and dental hygienists are also being sought after.
The number of vacancies has also vastly increased in the area of childcare. In fact, in 2016 there were 200 childcare jobs on offer each month. In 2017, the number of open vacancies doubled to 400 per month.
Temporary department closure
According to Willem de Boer, from the Dutch Hospitals Association (NVZ), the staff shortage has lead to higher work pressure, operations having to be postponed and specialist departments having to close down temporarily.
The staff shortage is partly due to the ageing population in the Netherlands, which results in the need for more intensive and specialist care. The ageing population also affects those in the healthcare sector, as a quarter of the employees are 55 years old and above and will soon be eligible to take their pensions.
Dutch healthcare deficit solutions
The UWV has proposed a few long and short-term solutions for the deficit of personnel in the Dutch healthcare sector. One short-term proposal is to have non-care related tasks be taken over by service staff.
Another solution is to make use of staff more efficiently through scheduling and offering more contracted hours per person. Other solutions include bringing back healthcare professionals who were dismissed, training job seekers and migrants, and attracting employees from abroad.
In the long term, the UWV recommends that there be more recognition and appreciation for healthcare staff. They also advise that there be targeted internships in healthcare areas with staff deficits, quality education to prevent students from dropping out and more information for students at secondary schools to get them interested in the sector.