- Economically speaking, Twente is doing great as a region
- Unemployment and the number of welfare payments are falling sharply
Employment has increased enormously. Nearly 9,000 new jobs were added last year in Twente. Now, more than 315,500 people are working in Twente. Twente’s economy has been developing above average for several years; Twente experienced +13,2% growth in the 2015-2018 period when it was +12.2% for the Netherlands. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has halved since the beginning of 2017. More and more people are working. Economic development also has a positive effect on vulnerable groups. The number of people entitled to welfare payments fell as quickly last year as it did in the two years before that combined. However, this decrease is less strong than the decrease in the number of unemployment benefits (-7.4% since the beginning of 2017, compared to the -51% of unemployment benefits) and less strong than in the Netherlands as a whole.
As in previous years, the demand for suitable staff remains high and continues to rise. This demand will become even greater in the coming years, as an increasing number of people are retiring. The demand is not only for theoretically skilled people but also – in numbers even more- for people with practical skills. Not enough young people with the desired skills are finishing their practical educations in the coming years, for example, in healthcare and technical professions. The so-called unused labour potential may offer relief. Besides the unemployed, these are people who, as it were, are on the threshold of the labour market and only need a (small) incentive to become active and look for a job.
International knowledge workers are also an interesting group. Twente has relatively few “Internationals”. For example, only 3.6% of people in Twente have a different nationality. In the Netherlands as a whole, this is 6.3%. In comparison with the Netherlands, we find, for example, fewer Britons and Poles in Twente. The total number of labour migrants in Twente in 2018 has been calculated at between 4,100 and 5,500 people by Kennispunt Twente. Of this group, between 1,600 and 2,100 are highly skilled migrants.
Due to the economic success of Twente, the challenge of finding sufficient suitable people is increasing”, according to Geert Braaksma, chairman of the Twente Board. “Compared to the rest of the Netherlands, Twente has few international knowledge workers. In other words, this is another untapped source for Twente. Companies need to open their doors to foreign employees. To make getting these employees easier, the companies in Twente can apply to be a referent at the IND (we can do this together). Like this, nothing stands in the way of bringing the required international knowledge workers to Twente, and we can rightfully call ourselves a prime international technology region!”