- Fostering mobility
- Provision of labour market information
- Social Dialogue
The sectoral plans are aimed at workers and employers across sectors and regions in the Netherlands.
The sectoral plans find their origin in the Social Pact of April 2013. The aim of these plans is to improve the labour market in a given sector or region. As there can be differences between regions and sectors, a good approach to address specific challenges and bottlenecks is to have social partners and organisations in a given region develop these plans. A variety of different organisations can be involved from a given sector or region; whom precisely is involved depends on the nature of the challenges faced by the sector or region, the sector plan consequently developed, and this in turn determines who co-finances the measures.
Social partners can develop such plans with the aim to make the labour market more robust through education and training, information, stimulating older workers to remain in the labour market, creating extra traineeships and furthering cross-sector mobility. When a sectoral plan is approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, this ministry will cofinance up to a maximum of €600 million. The plans have been developed in a wide range of sectors.
The labour market measures included within a sectoral plan can include (but are not limited to):
- job creation;
- moving from work to work (between sectors for instance);
- education and training;
- identifying key sectoral needs through social dialogue.
The social partners have an important role in drafting and implementing sectoral plans and they contribute a significant share of the funding. The government covers 50% of the costs for a period of up to 24 months. In the case of BBL qualifications, (Beroepsbegeleidende leerweg, vocational support learning trajectory), a type of vocational training where the student works and attends school one or two days a week, public finance can run up to 36 months.
- Regional funds
- National funds
- Trade union
- Employers' organisation
- Social partners (jointly)
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Regional social partners and organisations
Employer or employee organisations
Sectoral social partners, employer organisations, and trade unions
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment regularly publishes an overview of the outcome of the plans. In 2017, a progress report and evaluation was conducted on the sectoral plans on behalf of Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, which found that by August 2017, 38 sectoral plans had been completed and about 181,000 participants had been supported through the sectoral plans. This amounted to 70% of the targeted number of participants to support. One of the main effects of the plans has been to improve and strengthen the labour market position for participating workers. These results were acheived using around 71% of the total budget (€507 million, excluding overhead costs).
The broad approach and variation among types of sectoral plans which can be developed is seen as a strength. Sectoral plans can focus on different themes and areas, depending on what a sector or a given geographical region most requires.
Another main strength is the involvement of sectoral and local partners, who together identify the main bottlenecks and challenges in a regional or sectoral labour market and develop a plan in consultation. These plans are therefore highly relevant to the particular needs of workers, employers and enterprises working in given areas.
Another strength observed in the 2017 mid-term evaluation, is that the sectoral plans and the confinancing system have resulted in increasing support from different actors for plans and measures. As different social partners and sectoral organisations must work together and finance half of the plans, there is more collaboration and support for implemented measures.
There is no unanimity over the relative costs and benefits of plans.
Furthermore, perceptions among social partners of the efficacy of cooperation at the regional level are mixed. Some social partners and project leaders feel that cooperation has functioned well and expect it will be sustained beyond the duration and scope of the sectoral plan. However, most of the social partners believe that after the sectoral plan, the current level of cooperation will reduce and organisations will focus again on their own individual approaches to supporting the sectoral labour market.
Another weakness of the requirement of collaboration between social partners and organisations in a sector is that not every sector has the same level of organisation and coordination. Less well-organised, more fragmented sectors, especially those without a specific sectoral fund, had more trouble developing, launching, and implementing their sectoral plan.