EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change


Phase: Anticipation
  • response to COVID-19
  • Fostering mobility
  • Matching/Networking
  • Territorial coordination
  • Training
  • Working time flexibility
Zuletzt geändert: 03 August, 2021
Ursprünglicher Name:


Englischer Name:



This is available to firms in a region and/or sector that have set up a pool of flexible workers. Many examples can be found in the care sector (mental healthcare, care for elderly) ) and education sectors, both by individual companies and groups of companies. There are also flexpools, sometimes called 'arbopools', in other sectors.

Main characteristics

A flexpool is comprised of several employers based in the same area, who are looking for the same types of skills. Unemployed workers are hired by the flexpool organisation. They are then trained and sent to participating companies during their busiest periods of activity. Dutch legislation requires the management of each flexpool to offer open-ended contracts to the workers who have been involved in the system for 72 weeks. Companies are invoiced by the flexpool. However, in several aspects they are run like a temporary working agency (TWA), offering work only when this is available. The difference with a TWA is that flexpools are not run as a for profit organisation.There is no financial public support for flexpools, but the UWV (Public Employment Service) and the Chamber of Commerce may be of practical and logistic assistance.


  • Employer

Involved actors

National government
Legal framework.
Regional/local government
No information available.
Public employment services
No information available.
Employer or employee organisations
Managed by the local Chamber of Commerce, the trade unions and the interim sector. However, more and more individual employers create flexpools for their individual companies.
Managed by the local Chamber of Commerce, the trade unions and the interim sector; funded by the employer.


A formal and publically available evaluation of the flexpools is not available as these instruments are generally regional in nature. As such an encompassing assessment is difficult to achieve. 

Stichting Veluwe Portaal - a foundation aimed at improving the  functioning of the labour market in the North Veluwe region - supports flexpools in various sectors (health care, HTMS, hospitality, transport and logistics). Windesheim graduate school evaluated these pools. In general, the participants are positive about (the way of working in) the flexpools. According to employers, participation in the flexpools contributes to:

  • Cost reduction, among others by: Efficiency in recruiting personnel; no need to deploy temporary employment agencies; Joint purchasing of (tailor-made) training; establishing a network of flexible labour forces; exchange of personnel;
  • Better flow of personnel;
  • More knowledge and easier access to knowledge, for example, about human resource management;
  • More knowledge about the sector, faster and better insight into new developments;
  • More capacity to act quickly and adequately;  
  • Better employer image (as a result of better management and better personnel policy).

Success factors for (sustainable) flexpools are:

  • Group process:  Equality and trust between participants; active participation of all participants; common goal; clarity about the added value of participating in the flexpool for the own organization;
  • Composition of the group: A ‘core’ of participants which remains relatively stable; similarities but also diversity; participants with decision-making power; commitment by the participating organizations; participants decide to admit or reject new participants;
  • Other: Veluwe Portaal as a driving force and coordinator; make results visible; good choice of topics for discussion, right balance of time investment/revenue.

Some points for consideration include working with competitors (some participants find this difficult) and the diversity within the flexpools. As regards the last point, the flexpools are now organized by branch. A number of respondents indicate that a more mixed, cross-sector composition can also be interesting. Both forms have their advantages and disadvantages.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that also in case of major restructuring flexpools may have good results. An often mentioned example in this respect is the Nedcar automotive plant in the southeastern part of the Netherlands. In 2012 and 2013, at Nedcar some 1500 employees were employed by the flexpool, and subsequently hired out to other firms. Since then, employment at Nedcar has risen dramatically after the takeover by Dutch VDL of the Mitsubishi owned Nedcar plant. So, the need for the flexpool in this case disappeared.

Another example is of the deployment of a flexpool of the Koninklijke Marechaussee (Royal Military Police) on the Isles of Curaçao and Sint Maarten in the period from January 2011 to October 2012. DSG-groep evaluated this flexpool. The researchers concluded with a positive assessment of the flexpool. All services and directors involved in Curaçao and Sint Maarten appreciated the support by the flexpool and  experienced the Koninklijke Marechaussee as a flexible and reliable partner with professional, skilled employees.
There are no overviews of flexpools in place in the Netherlands; this is in part due to the fact that they are established by social partners and stakeholders from regions and sectors in response to a labour need. However, TNO, a research institute, conducted research on internal flexpools (within an organisation), and estimates that around 3% of employers in the Netherlands have such a pool. This value is thought to have remained stable since 2014. TNO expects that more internal and external flexpools may be used in future due to the pressure of the COVID-19 on labour forces.


This mechanism is designed to regulate and secure employment in the sectors concerned, while at the same time responding to companies’ flexibility constraints. For companies, it permits the combination of flexibility and a secure supply of qualified workers, while the pool’s workers benefit from job and income security, as well as professional training. It allows participating companies to compensate for seasonal and unpredictable fluctuations in production demand and limit the costs associated with recruiting temporary staff. It offers the pool’s workers a qualified and stable job, thus allowing them to benefit from an appropriate and predictable income.


There is a risk of differentiation in terms of status and salary between pool workers, the user company’s permanent staff and the temporary workers recruited outside the pool structure. There is also a risk of lower investment in on-the-job training for pooled workers. Generally, pool works may experience a low level of 'sideways mobility' towards a permanent position with one of the participating companies. The type of work provided is not suited to all job seekers, insofar as it requires flexibility, versatility and the capacity to adapt. A low level of responsibility is demanded for the participating companies in the management of the pool; this is likely to increase the administrative requirements of the system and to hinder its development and continuity.


Flexpools Veluwe Portaal (flexpools in various sectors: health care, HTMS, hospitality, transport and logistics ). Nedcar (automotive plant). Koninklijke Marechaussee (Military Police). CPOW Foundation for Christian education have a flexpool for primary and secondary school teachers.
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