The figures provided by the high-tech Eindhoven region are indeed impressive. They are comparable with Chinese growth figures. Nevertheless, there are thousands of people in Eindhoven who are still on the sidelines.
For years, the Brainport region has, with 4.5 to 5%, been growing the fastest in the country as far as the economy is concerned. On average, in the Netherlands, this counter does not go beyond 3.2%. The region’s share in the total investments in innovation in the Netherlands is also considerable. The number of jobs in 2017 in the area also increased by 11,000. Partly, as a result, the level of unemployment has fallen sharply below the Dutch average.
The political parties in Eindhoven, however, find these impressive figures no reason to celebrate. For example, this spontaneous growth has created an overheated housing market. And above all, there are many thousands of people in Eindhoven who do not profit from the region’s success. It is a serious concern for political parties like ChristenUnie, VVD, SP, and CDA.
Match unemployed with companies
‘The dichotomy in the region is becoming a social burning issue. We have to extinguish this fire. We need to find those unemployed who are living life in cardboard boxes and find the companies that are looking for personnel. Then, match these two up. Why look for employees abroad, if there are enough people here who can do the job?” says Henk Jager of the ChristenUnie.
The VVD is also clear on this point. ‘There are 48,000 vacancies. At the same time, 6,500 people in Eindhoven are receiving social welfare assistance. We need to do better ‘, says VVD council member Jeroen Dasbach.
Director of Brainport Development, Paul van Nuenen, also recognises the problem. However, he does not have a ready-made solution. ‘We have to work on this together – the municipality, knowledge institutions, and the companies. It is a shared responsibility. There are 7,000 employees in the region working in the manufacturing industry, and doing ‘normal’ jobs. This group also indeed contributes to the success of the high-tech Brainport region ‘.
Translated by: Chaitali Sengupta
Edited by: Melinda Walraven