Because the economies in Eastern Europe are doing well, many workers who come from there will leave the Netherlands. The ABN AMRO economic agency predicts this. The departure of these forces will affect Dutch business because of a shortage on the labor market.
"The agricultural sector, construction, industry and the transport sector are particularly affected, because companies are already struggling with a large staff shortage," says economist Nora Neuteboom.
In the agricultural sector, the dependence on workers from Eastern Europe is particularly high when it comes to seasonal workers in peak periods. Because they often have a less strong bond with the Netherlands, departure for this group would rather be an option.
In the industry, the shortage of manpower is currently also employing a large number of Eastern European personnel, which may be dropping out due to economic prosperity at home.
In addition, no fewer than 53,000 Eastern Europeans work in transport and logistics, which is 13 percent of the entire sector. No official figures are available about construction, but many people from Eastern Europe also work there.
Growth of Eastern European economies
The economy in Eastern Europe grew by an average of 4 percent between 2015 and 2018. In 2018, the Polish economy even grew by 5.1 percent. This growth is also expected to continue in the coming years.
In addition, there is a shrinking workforce in Eastern Europe. Wages in these countries are therefore expected to rise.
For this reason, labor migrants who come from the east and now work in Western Europe will return to their country of origin faster. Workers who are still in their own country are expected to be more inclined to work there.
"Countries farther from Eastern Europe, such as the Netherlands, are most affected by this," says Neuteboom.
Counterbalance for keeping people in the Netherlands
The departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union is one of the factors that can counterbalance the exodus from the Netherlands. "With a Brexit, many Eastern Europeans depart from the United Kingdom, who may settle in the Netherlands," said Neuteboom.
Entrepreneurs can also mitigate the effect of the staff shortage by investing extra in digitization and robotization, so that simply fewer workers are needed.