Focus on skills improves the labor market and accelerates the energy transition

As one of the largest consultancies in the world, Deloitte is an important knowledge partner within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area in the field of various social themes. Johan Stuiver, Director Strategy & Operations Public Sector and counselor of the Board, explains how they contribute to a future-proof labor market within the energy transition.

Why are you a member of the Network Council of the Board?

“We see it as our responsibility to jointly make an impact on major social themes. For many years now, we have worked for numerous companies, governments and knowledge institutions in the city. Including in the fields of economic development, business operations, technology & innovation and the labor market. The Board has an interesting network of parties, who are all working from their own angle to keep the city liveable. Many of them are already our relations, with whom we also like to share knowledge and work together in a Board context.”

How do you contribute to the Board’s ambitions?

“Because we operate worldwide, we have knowledge, data and insights from European capitals and other major cities in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is doing extremely well in many respects, but in some areas, such as the realization of smart-city concepts and the circular economy, other (European) cities are a bit further. With our knowledge of social issues inland and abroad, we contribute to making the region smarter, cleaner and more beautiful.”

Which challenges of the Board do you appeal to?

“Actually all challenges . Like the Board, we are concerned with mobility, health, digital connectivity, the energy transition and talent for the future. We see a great tension between the last two challenges. The great ambitions that have been formulated in the field of energy – about the number of wind turbines, making homes more sustainable, electric driving, you name it – are simply not feasible if there is not enough qualified staff available. There is mainly a shortage of technical people, but knowledge institutions and public administration themselves also have a challenge in this area. More and more (new) positions are needed to manage the major energy transitions, to maintain control and, for example, also provide legal and financial support.”

What is your role in solving the labor market issue?

“We always work from three tracks for our clients: how do we get people from school to work, from work to work and back to work? Together with the Municipality of Amsterdam, the provinces of North-Holland and Flevoland and the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, we have mapped out within the region which labor market projects are ongoing, how successful they are and what the building blocks should be for a Human Capital Agenda. And how we work together to ensure that the challenges are actually solved. In our view, this requires a redesign of the labor market, new forms of collaboration and a data-driven approach.

Rather than looking at degrees and years of work experience, employers should focus more on people’s skills, talent and motivation. They often go unmentioned on a CV, even though they are the key to improving the job market. By uncovering these hidden skills, we can enable people who are currently in a shrinking profession to move on to growth sectors where they are desperate for their competences. In our annual State of the State survey, a current data analysis of our country, we’ve also looked at this topic.

In that context, we also work for House of Skills , a large-scale, innovative labor market project in Amsterdam, which promotes the advancement of lower and intermediate educated people from shrinking to growth sectors. We also invest in this project from our Deloitte Impact Foundation. We are engaged in, among other things, drawing up new financial models of intersectoral mobility and advising on innovative forms of education.”

What do you encounter in practice?

“Education reform is essential for the advancement of talent. However, we notice that it is difficult to offer custom-oriented, modular education to workers, because the education’s earnings model is not yet geared to this. Financing structures and complicated regulations make it difficult to quickly move towards new products and services that the market is now asking for.

Another point is privacy legislation. Every person has a wealth of valuable, personal data, for example in the field of healthcare. By combining all that data, we can create beautiful business models that allow us to deliver faster, better and tailor-made care. In the field of privacy, there is still a great responsibility with the government, because legislation sometimes prevents innovation. ”

How do you see the region in five years?

“We are going to see a lot of developments in the coming years and the speed of that will increase. We believe that a smarter mobility system will emerge to reduce the pressure on the city, and that more public-private partnerships will emerge as a new form of government. Tourism growth will continue, but we expect more packages to be offered in collaboration with other major cities in the Netherlands, which will help tourism to spread better. We also think that the labor market is improving, because new matches are formed with the use of data and employment in the region increases. Moreover, we believe that Amsterdam will be a leader in the field of circular economy.

How smoothly these developments go has everything to do with the political composition of the board, the urgency felt and the willingness to cooperate even more with the market. The Board also plays an important role in this, because they ensure the correct agenda setting and commitment from all parties involved. It is important to also get the private sector and knowledge institutions of all levels on board. If they start investing and feel ownership of the challenges, things can eventually go quickly and the Amsterdam ecosystem will flourish. ”

Text: Ronne Theunis

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1 November 2019

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