Is the employment agency failing?

Fresh research has revealed that the Flemish employment agency VDAB is failing to find gainful employment for one in four jobless during their first year of inactivity or even to put them on a training course or internship.

The longer people remain jobless the harder it is to get a job.  That's why labour experts Ludo Struyven and Sam Desiereare of the Research Institute for Labour and Society are pressing the VDAB to prioritise vulnerable groups on the labour market, especially when benefits are limited in time or fall. The researchers followed 288,000 jobless people to discover what's going on.

One in four of these jobless didn't find a job or didn't follow a training course or do an internship during for an entire year. However, 40% of these people are no longer jobless after that one year.  Some retire or claim long term illness benefit.  The researchers believe most withdraw from the labour market and become non-active.  Others apply for the guaranteed minimum income benefit.

Several profiles return again and again: older workers, the low skilled and immigrants with no knowledge of Dutch. So why is VDAB failing to activate these people:  Ludo Struyven: "What the VDAB offers job seekers doesn't always meet their needs.  For the most vulnerable groups there simply aren't enough offers.  In the social economy too there are too few jobs.

Flemish employment minister Muyters (Flemish nationalist) stresses that the research was based on the situation in 2016 and measures have been taken since! Work experience is promoted.  Unemployed people are allowed to work a limited number of hours for private individuals in their home or for schools and other non-profit organisations. Such initiatives are intended to show claimants the road to the labour market.

Since October 2018 benefit claimants have also been followed more closely with a view to getting them into employment.