Brabant has 40,000 unemployed people, but also 64,000 job vacancies. This gives rise to such pressure on the labour market that Bert Pauli, deputy – gedeputeerde – for Economic Affairs in the province of Brabant, thinks it time for a warning. “Unemployment will soon fall below 3%, and that is a critical point. The mismatch between supply and demand will become even greater”, he said during the BOM’s end-of-year event in Tilburg.

Pauli believes that the economic success of Brabant has several causes. “First of all, we have incredibly good entrepreneurs here. At the moment, these entrepreneurs are, of course, being given extra help by the economic climate: if things are not going as well as they should be, this will be felt harder here, but if things are going well, we will also notice this more strongly than in the rest of the country; that is how things work in the manufacturing industry. The geographical location also helps enormously. Finally, we are world leaders in a number of specific sectors: photonics, microsurgery, cleantech, biopharma, to name but a few.”

Pauli also had some advice for the entrepreneurs p[resent at the BOM-event. “The pressure on the labour market is only increasing even further, so a company would do well to cherish its talents. Think of permanent contracts instead of zero-hours agreements. Investing in digitisation is at least as important, both for the company and its employees. And realize that Europe is a displacement market. In about two years’ time, it will be at its peak, so it is time to start looking for the global market rather than just Europe.”

Photo: BOM director Jan Pelle on stage with Anne-Marie Fokkens.