Hire People Not Paper

Hire People not Paper Event (PC: Expat Spouse Initiative)

Eindhoven is slowly becoming the hub for internationals. Finding a job that matches their professional profiles is a criterion for a better life in a new country.

Many challenges arise during the process, some of which have yet to be resolved. Expat Spouses Initiative is an organisation that helps talented spouses or partners of international migrant workers get settled in the Dutch job market.

Abundant Resources

The highly skilled migrants who move to the Netherlands are often accompanied by equally experienced, educated or talented spouses. They are from diverse backgrounds like technology, business and finance, design and education. Expat Spouse Initiative has a diverse talent pool. From their talent pool, it is estimated that out of the spouses 54% have five to ten years of work experience and, 27% of them have worked in the Netherlands for 2 years or more. 

Staff Shortage in the Netherlands

The UWV (Dutch employee insurance administration), published in February 2023 a survey: “Ervaringen van werkgevers met het werven en behoud van personeel” (employers’ experiences with recruitment and retention). It stated that only 46% of the employers with vacancies that are very difficult to fill, hired candidates who did not fully meet the job requirements fully and were trained by the companies themselves. This means that there are far more companies simply not hiring because they can’t find the perfect match to their vacancies. In other words, in this tight talent landscape, good candidates are often not spotted. 

Obstructions from employers’ perspective

Employers often find it difficult to fill the vacancies. They don’t get enough responses from applicants with the right skills and work experience. Therefore, the vacancies stay unfilled for a really long time. The employers also consider alternatives like having a closer look into their terms of employment and job requirements to solve the problems. They consider the concept of open hiring, where the candidates are trained in the foreseeable future or from their work-study program. A few employers don’t stress the language requirement that was earlier a criteria.

Outflow of employees to a new company or due to retirement also causes problem in some case. The larger companies (with employees strength 100 plus) are better at filling vacancies when compared to smaller companies (less than 100 employees). The difference in the salaries for the different professions is also a concerning factor. They exercise other options such as retaining the existing employees, distributing the critical work to existing employees, including people from other sectors, status holders, and hiring people from abroad or with occupational difficulties to combat this issue.

Impact of Staff Shortage in Helmond-De Peel

Helmond-De Peel has the best of two worlds. Part of the top economic region Brainport but still the benefits of a smaller region in which cooperation between companies, education and government and knowing each other are central. Many small and medium-sized businesses exist. They don’t often have their own HR or recruitment department. There are a variety of economic sectors that contribute to the most important goal of prosperity. As in other regions, Helmond-De Peel also faced a severe staff shortage. 

Hire People, Not Paper

In this critical market situation, Expat Spouses Initiative have taken a creative initiative in partnership with WerkgeversServicepunt, Boost, Helmond-De-Peel. This event was organised on February 8, 2024 in Helmond. The event connected the talent pool with regional employers, especially SMEs.


BOOST is one of the partners of the event. The Coordinator of the Regional mobility team from this organisation can personally relate herself to the jobseekers. Her parents hailed from Spain as Gastarbeider* and settled in good jobs. Helmond has a lot of smaller companies or startups with strength of maximum 50–100 employees. The employers in Helmond-De Peel were not aware of the feasible talent group, the international spouses. This event was an opportunity to connect these companies struggling with staff recruitment and unlock a door. 


EURES (European Employment Services) was at the event. They helped the jobseekers by providing tips to improve their CVs, giving them the best chance to showcase their skills.

Participant’s Feedback

“The biggest advantage of this event is that the focus of the jobseekers have spread to Helmond-De Peel region. While several participants found the opportunity to connect with companies, talents with a technology background were most sought out by companies present. Companies in the region must open up to internationals at large, to make the most of the top-talent locally available, like accompanying spouses and partners, which will significantly ease the tight labour market experienced regionally. “

However, some talents find it very difficult to match their profiles with the requirements of the recruiter. For example, there was a participant who had an extensive sales experience across the geographies. She finds it difficult to fit into the profile that the companies suggest. She was also open to moving into some other relevant roles. Finally, the event has set up a good stage for connecting small and medium-sized companies with international talents.

Gastarbeider*- Gastarbeiders are foreign migrants who have moved between 1955 and 1973, seeking work as part of a formal guest worker program.

Source: Hire People Not Paper event

For Eindhoven news: Shanthi Ramani

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