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Coping with Labour Shortages: How to bring outsiders back to the labour market

  • Ekkehard Ernst

The Dutch labour market is functioning well, with employment and labour participation rates above OECD averages. Nevertheless, there are sizable pockets of under-activity, including social benefit recipients representing 17% of the working-age population, which could be mobilised in order to address short-run labour shortages and the long-run ageing-related reductions in the labour supply. Reintegrating these benefit recipients would also help to reduce spending on labour market programmes, which is among the highest in the OECD. The paper argues that policies should continue to tackle the high inactivity of these groups. For people on social assistance and older workers, job search requirements should be strengthened and the authorities should continue making the tax-benefit system more work-friendly. For women with low-earning capacities, existing work disincentives should be eliminated. For (partially) disabled people, it is important to envisage labour market re-integration at an early stage. For the long-term unemployed, policies should be further strengthened by adjusting the unemployment benefit and the employment protection systems, as well as further improving current profiling and training measures. This Working Paper relates to the 2008 Economic Survey of the Netherlands (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/netherlands) Remédier aux pénuries de main-d'oeuvre : comment réintégrer les travailleurs exclus Le marché du travail fonctionne de façon satisfaisante aux Pays-Bas, où les taux d'emploi et d'activité sont supérieurs aux moyennes de l'OCDE. Néanmoins, il existe d'importantes poches de sous-activité, notamment parmi les bénéficiaires de prestations sociales, qui représentent 17 % de la population d'âge actif ; ce groupe pourrait être mobilisé pour remédier aux pénuries de main-d'oeuvre à court terme et à la contraction à long terme de l'offre de travail liée au vieillissement démographique. Réinsérer ces titulaires de prestations contribuerait aussi à réduire les dépenses au titre des programmes du marché du travail, qui figurent parmi les plus élevées de la zone OCDE. Nous faisons valoir dans le présent document que les pouvoirs publics devraient poursuivre les efforts déployés pour réduire la forte inactivité de ces groupes. Pour les bénéficiaires de l'aide sociale et les travailleurs âgés, les obligations de recherche d'emploi devraient être renforcées, et les autorités devraient continuer à rendre le système de prélèvements et de prestations plus propice à l'activité. S'agissant des femmes à faible capacité de gain, les désincitations au travail qui influent actuellement sur leurs choix devraient être éliminées. En ce qui concerne les personnes (partiellement) handicapées, il importe d'envisager leur réinsertion rapide sur le marché du travail. Pour les chômeurs de longue durée, il convient de renforcer les politiques en place, en ajustant les systèmes d'indemnisation du chômage et de protection de l'emploi, ainsi qu'en améliorant encore les dispositifs actuels de profilage et de formation. Ce document de travail est lié à l'Étude économique de 2008 consacrée aux Pays-Bas (www.oecd.org/eco/etudes/paysbas)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/241250744525
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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 619.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:619-en
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