Government agencies struggle to recruit staff

The UWV is out of favour as an employer. Photo:

Government departments which are charged with putting government policy into action, such as the tax office, highways department, and the jobs and benefits agency UWV, are finding it difficult to recruit thousands of new members of staff, public broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.

The tax office, for example, needs to recruit 1,350 people to add to its workforce of some 30,000, and the shortage of staff means telephone inquiry waiting times are going up, NOS said.

Activities in prisons are also being hit by the shortage of prison staff and the IND is struggling to meet the demand for residency permits. It has plans to recruit 500 new members of staff, NOS said.

Employment experts told NOS that government cut backs in previous years and a short-sighted approach to staffing are partly to blame. In addition, the government agencies are grappling with high absenteeism rates of between 5% and 8.4%, which is well above the pre-coronavirus average.

An added problem is the government’s reputation. Working for the government has fallen out of favour, professor Paul Boselie told NOS. ‘The tax office used to be one of the most popular employers but now it is not the sort of place you want to say you work at when asked at a party,’ he said.

Health ministry

Meanwhile, the health ministry has launched a recruitment campaign to find 13,000 people to help out in the coming autumn’s coronavirus vaccination programme.

The hospitality industry is angry about the ministry jobs drive, arguing that the government is competing unfairly for scarce workers by offering far higher wages.

Thousands of bar and café staff left the sector during the pandemic to work in the various testing centres. Although many have now returned to catering, employers fear they may be encouraged to leave again in the autumn by the higher pay on offer.

There are currently some 80,000 vacancies in the hospitality industry, Rober Willemsen of the hospitality industry association KHN told broadcaster NOS.

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