Is it enough to offer more pay to solve staff shortages? | NOW

The shortage in the labor market is increasing. There are almost no people to be found, especially for working with hands. Offering a higher salary is often mentioned as the solution. But emeritus professor of social history Jan Lucassen knows that it takes more to make a job attractive.

Can the shortage of the labor market be solved if we reward the low-skilled better?

Lucassen: “From an economic point of view, better pay for work is the best way to solve the shortage. If you pay more, you get it too. It is the market forces. But it does not work in the labor market. There is a delay anyway. People must first train, it takes time.Our view of work also plays a big role.We believe that if someone does their best, then it should pay off.But why do I earn more as a professor than many others? University jobs are better rewarded and that is actually a really weird thing. “

So we should look less at diplomas?

“The Netherlands is a diplomatic society. Since the thirteenth century, intellectuals have been valued higher. There were many illiterates, the highly educated were few and were therefore better paid. But in today’s society it has gone awry. A surgeon must study long and actually about life and “But a nurse does it just as well and earns much less. In part, one can say that diplomas mean something, it provides more knowledge. But there is an overestimation of papers.”

“We want our children to be proud of their work in the future. We do not think that is possible if they do something that requires less paper.”

Could the government do anything to change the situation?

“One employee has more talent than another. A good boss does everything he can to keep such a person. But you can not always give anyone more pay because the pay structures are so rigid. You have to tackle that. The government can really help. “

“But it’s also about the ratio between the lowest and the highest wages. The beam end norm regulates how much more top officials can earn in relation to the lowest wages. The norm must be lowered. If the high wages are no longer allowed to be so. Far above the low wages “then low wages would increase. The difference that is now is no longer logical or understandable to people, it affects their motivation and commitment.”

A better salary can make the work more attractive. However, many highly educated people do not want to pursue certain professions. How do we solve it?

“At university you learn to think independently, so you will find that very important in your work. University graduates will not do a lot of work because there is little to think about. But suppose we seriously ask the suitcase porters at Schiphol to think about .

“What also matters is that we think that if something is cheap, it can not be good. A suitcase carrier earns little, so the work can not be much. Then you do not tell about it on birthdays. But if you have a college degree and “If you do intellectual work, you often talk very proudly about it. My brother-in-law earned much more as a welder in Australia than for exactly the same job in the Netherlands. In Australia, he earned much more as a welder in Australia. could tell a lot about his work. “

Here we would rather send our children to university.

“Yes, we want the best for our children. We want them to get a good job. That’s why we have a hard time when they get a vocational high school counseling. Because yes, we have to go to a certain type of school, with – or we think so – a certain type of student. We also want them to be proud of their work later. We think they can not if they do something that requires less paper. But that’s how we preserve inequality. People want to really like to work as long as they have independence and a decent reward. “

Jan Lucassen is an emeritus professor of social history and author of The world at work.

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