Tuesday 15 June 2021

Cafes, restaurants and events face staff shortages as lockdown eases

Café and restaurant owners, and event organisers are among the employers who are worried about the shortage of staff, now that the Netherlands is beginning to get back to normal.

During the lockdown, many people found work elsewhere and companies are struggling to fill vacancies, website Nu.nl reported.

Berend Schans of festival and concert organiser association VNPF said he fears that thousands of vacancies will be unfilled once mass events can be organised again from the end of the month.

And bars and restaurants, where staff are often on freelance or zero hour contracts, are also facing shortages because people have found work in other sectors.

‘Employers are concerned about staffing levels when the sector fully opens again,’ hospitality industry body KHN told Nu.nl. ‘37% say they don’t expect it will be easy to find staff and 21% think there will be a shortage of personnel.’

State jobs agency UWV has also noted a sharp rise in the number of listed vacancies for café and restaurant staff.

‘There is a lot of competition,’ UWV labour market specialist Rob Witjes said. ‘Employers who kept in touch with their staff during the lockdown will find it easier to tempt them back, but those that didn’t will find it hard.’


According to the Financieele Dagblad, some 500,000 people worked in the hospitality industry before the start of the crisis and a further 100,000 in the events sector.

A spokesman for small firms organisation MKB-Nederland told the paper that there are currently 250,000 job vacancies in the Netherlands, a rise of 50,000 on the same period last year.

The cleaning sector has also been hit by a shortage of workers, now that holiday parks, schools and offices are opening again. ‘And competition with cafes and the retail sector is making it even harder to find people,’ John van Hoof, chairman of cleaning company CSU, said.


The Dutch official unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in the first three months of 2021, due to a combination of more people finding work, and an increase in people stopping looking for work altogether, the national statistics agency CBS said last month.

The official rate had reached a pandemic high of 4.6% last August, but has been falling steadily since then.

The CBS figures also show that of the nine million people with a job, 1.7 million had a flexible or short-term contract. That is down 122,000 on the same period in 2020.

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