2020 December Job Talk and Volunteer Job Fair!
On 3 December 2020, we hosted our second virtual networking event, and final networking event of 2020! With over 150 attendees, 15 participating organizations, and an important keynote address by Gerko Visee of The Hague International Centre about the COVID-19-era job market in The Hague, we had a fun, insightful, and informative event. And during the networking hour, we were able to meet expats from all over the region and get information about volunteer opportunities at the organizations that attended!
For the job talk, we had Gerko Visee on hand from The Hague International Centre (THIC) to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on expats and on hiring practices generally in and around The Hague. Because THIC works with area expats and many local organizations, they're particularly aware not only of current trends, but also why those trends are occuring - and where those trends may go in the coming months.
Gerko began his talk with a statistic that some of us know all too well: Available jobs have fallen dramatically from the second quarter of 2020 - up to 300% by some estimates. This is a daunting statistic, but knowing exactly how and where the market has been affected can help those looking for employment. First, it should be noted that the impact has been unequal; some industries have been affected more than others. Of course, we know the restaurant, catering, and serices industries have been hard hit, but it's also worth noting that trade, transport, and employment agencies have also been heavily impacted. The good news is that there are fields that have weathered the crisis relatively well. These include the care industry, as well as the rental/property sectors, financial services, and IT.
But there are other challenges: Fear of not being able to get a job is keeping people in their current positions, so there are less vacancies generally. And companies are focused more on talent retention and retraining current talent for new tasks than on hiring. With these factors in mind, it's important to see the current and (likely) future trends of the job market in The Hague region.
According to Gerko, jobs related to peace and justice (a big field in The Hague for obvious reasons) will remain steady in the short and long term, while energy, legal, and finance will likely trend downward in the short and long term. Security and IT are steady now and are likely to grow as the pandemic (hopefully) wanes next year. These trends also depend on region. Although The Netherlands is a small country, each region has clusters of certain fields. For example, Amsterdam is a hub for IT and creative jobs, while Rotterdam and Delft both have a lot of MedTech, CleanTech, and industry jobs. So it's essential to get to know the fields of the region you're living in (or to which you want to relocate). In The Hague, in addition to peace and justice organizations, Security Delta is a huge source of employment.
As for jumping into the job market, a lot of recruitment has moved online, so be prepared for virtual job fairs, recruitment webinars, and intake interviews with hiring agencies online. Being able to master virtual engagement styles is therefore essential. Also be prepared for at least one face-to-face (but likely still socially distanced) interview before being hired anywhere, even if the actual job will be remote until the pandemic eases.
Finally, Gerko stressed that it's important to realize that there is no single job path; being prepared for all of these eventualities (i.e., being flexible) is important as we all navigate this new normal. Manage your expectations and timeline, because this is a highly competitive market. But also recognize that there are some positives: as an expat, you won't necessarily be competing for the same jobs as Dutch, because Dutch skills are more important for generalized jobs. Highlight your advantages, use LinkedIn heavily (because the Dutch love LinkedIn), and make sure you have a Dutch-style CV. And if you're lacking skills (or are in a career transition), make sure to consider volunteering, traineerships, and internships (if you have the means to sustain yourself financially).
We want to extend our thanks to Gerko and The Hague International Centre for sharing their insight at this event, as well as to all of you who were able to attend and make this event a success! We hope to bring you more virtual networking events in 2021!
About the Presenter
Gerko Visée works as adviser and account manager for The Hague International Centre. Gerko joined the Centre in 2017. Before working with international staff, Gerko assisted in the coordination of refugee reception throughout the county and worked as a trainee in the political section of The Netherlands Embassy in Israel. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Religious Studies from the University of Amsterdam and a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Politics from Durham University.
The Hague International Centre is the point of contact for international staff of organizations and companies in The Hague region. It offers a soft landing for expats in the region by taking care of formalities and offering services related to settling in.