Employer in the Netherlands

Managing Director of HR Solutions at Randstad

Inge's Story

We shouldn’t look at the issue of refugee employment by focusing on the gap between the needs of employers and the needs of refugees- if we focus on the gaps, we exacerbate the issue and frame it as a problem. Rather we should be focusing on the complementary factors, the possibilities and opportunities.

Randstad is an employment agency that supports all target groups of people in the Netherlands to find employment. In 2015, we were approached by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, who requested the support of Randstad to shorten the amount of time it took for refugees to find work. We started with a pilot project which provided tailored support to 95 refugees. Our first step was to learn more about refugees as a target group of job seekers, and the struggles that they faced to enter the labour market. This also required us to learn more about employers in the Netherlands, so that we could adequately prepare them and their work places for employees with refugee backgrounds. Although many employers were initially hesitant to engage with refugees in this way; through coaching and providing information, we now see that employers are more familiar with refugees, and want to give them a chance.

"Although many employers were initially hesitant to engage with refugees in this way; through coaching and providing information, we now see that employers are more familiar with refugees, and want to give them a chance."

During the pilot, there was quite a different experience for refugees with a high level of education than those with a low level of education. It proved to be easier for those with a low level of education to secure a work placement because the recruitment procedures did not require them to have diplomas or a vast level of prior learning. Employers were satisfied with employing refugees based on their level of motivation and whether they could speak English or Dutch. For those with a high level of education, it took more time to find employment as the criteria and procedures- such as diploma validation - are more demanding and the Dutch language is much more critical.

Opportunities to match labour demand and supply exist for refugees as they do for other unemployed individuals. It just takes more time- generally, we can find a job for an unemployed Dutch person who is ‘job ready’ within eight weeks. From what we have experienced for refugees, it takes us about six months. We have learned that it takes more time, and more coaching of the refugee and of the employer. The main reason is language- it’s much more difficult to find work if you cannot speak Dutch. Cultural challenges are another factor, as are matching skills with demand.

It’s our job to make the process easier for the employer too, to present a caseload of motivated individuals who are looking for work. Ultimately, it can come down to convincing employers to take a chance, to invest in an individual, and to make an assessment based on the individual’s performance. The most important thing is to start by doing.

IOM ኩኪስ ስለዝጥቀም፡ ነዚ ነቝጣ መርበብ ሓበሬታ እዚ ክትጥቀሙሉ እንከለኹም ንውዕል ምጥቃም ናይ’ዞም ኩኪስ እዚኣቶም ብዝምልከት ትሰማምዑ ኣለኹም ማለት እዩ። ዕጸዉ