Han Mesters expects 2024 to be significantly influenced by the ongoing effects of the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. This influence is already visible in certain EU countries. For instance, the Netherlands’ GDP data for the third quarter of 2023, shows a decrease in both imports and exports. This indicates we’re entering a period where global connections are shifting, impacting industries like transportation and manufacturing. Despite these global changes, the job market still faces a shortage of workers.
This situation is bringing about two major changes: First, the focus is shifting from the type of job contract to the importance of having the right skills and abilities.
Second, there’s a growing trend of “conscious quitting,” where people leave jobs that don’t align with their personal values, particularly around ethical and environmental issues.
The importance of sustainability is becoming a crucial factor, especially for the younger generation entering the workforce. This emphasis on eco-friendly practices and ethical values highlights the increasing need for companies to focus on environmental responsibility to attract and keep talented workers.
Han Mesters, ABN AMRO
#2. Increasing WML leads to less availability on the labor market
Maudie Derks highlights the upcoming significant increase in the minimum wage starting January 2024. Despite moving to an hourly wage calculation, for a standard 40-hour work week, the minimum monthly wage will exceed EUR 2,300. This adjustment aims to motivate people to seek employment or increase their working hours, underlining the principle that work should be financially rewarding.
However, Derks points out two unintended consequences of this increase:
- Employers are seeing a surge in requests from employees who adjust their working hours to balance their earnings with government benefits, aiming to keep their monthly income constant while reducing work hours. This trend is particularly noticeable in sectors with a high prevalence of part-time jobs, such as cleaning, catering, and home care.
- The minimum wage hike also affects benefits tied to it, like those under the Sickness Benefits Act and the WGA, causing all related benefits to rise proportionally. These increases often surpass the wage scale adjustments seen in many collective labor agreements, narrowing the financial gap between working and receiving benefits. This could potentially discourage work participation.
Derks predicts that despite the positive intentions behind the minimum wage increase, it may not lead to the hoped-for outcome of more individuals working additional hours, especially during a time when the labor market is already tight. This reflects a complex challenge in balancing wage policies with labor market participation.
Maudie Derks, Acture
#3. Courageous political choices are needed
Jurriën Koops emphasizes that 2024 will continue to see challenges in the labor market due to its tightness. He points out that there’s a general reluctance among people to work longer or more hours, and there’s also resistance to labor migration and the adoption of robotization. According to Koops, this situation is becoming increasingly critical, necessitating bold decisions from political leaders.
He argues that these decisions should be guided by two fundamental questions: Which jobs do we want to retain and do we have enough workforce to fulfill these roles? Koops suggests that it’s time to move beyond short-term fixes and confront the issues directly, implying that the era of easy solutions is over.
Jurriën Koops, ABU
#4. Flextech wins over recruitment tech in 2024
Geert-Jan Waasdorp, noted that the number of jobs in the flexible work market has gone up by almost 40% in the last five years. With the demand expected to level off in 2024, supply and demand will become more even. However, not everyone entering the market will find success.
He also notes that online platforms for flexible work are becoming more popular than traditional job agencies, job boards, and social media. These platforms and brokers are becoming key in helping employers find workers. With the growth of Total Talent Management, technology for flexible work (‘flextech’) is becoming more important than traditional hiring technology.
Geert-Jan Waasdorp, Director Intelligence Group
#5. 2024: a transition year in the labor market?
Chris Neddermeijer from Nétive VMS shares insights from 2023, noting a 2.6% decrease in temporary jobs, a more than 30% increase in self-employed contracts, and an 11% increase in secondment roles, according to their data. The number of candidates for temporary jobs also dropped significantly. Despite a 1.5% predicted economic growth in 2024, the shortage of talent is expected to continue.
He highlights a mismatch between what employers offer and what younger workers want, leading many organizations to use AI tools to bridge this gap, with varying success. Recruitment efforts that focus on a company’s culture and values still prove effective.
Neddermeijer acknowledges the growing role of AI in recruitment, suggesting that 2024 will be a pivotal year to determine which AI strategies are most effective, marking it as a year of transition in recruitment practices.
Chris Neddermeijer, Nétive VMS
#6. A bright spot in economic growth, but the flexible sector sees dark clouds
Sjuk Akkerman from ING Business Banking reports that ING predicts a modest economic growth of 0.7% in 2024, which is a small improvement over 2023. However, the forecast for the temporary employment sector is not as positive, with an expected decline of 4% in 2024. This downturn is anticipated due to upcoming regulations, such as mandatory certification and labor market reforms, which will increase the costs and reduce the flexibility of temporary jobs. As a result, there’s an expected move towards other forms of flexible work, like self-employment, particularly among young people.
Sjuk Akkerman, Senior Sector Banker Services & Leisure ING Business Banking
This article is made possible by Zipconomy and Flexnieuws.
If you liked this article and want more insights on attracting and retaining the best talent in Europe, subscribe to ToTalent’s weekly newsletter. You’ll get exclusive content, events, and expert insights.