Shortages in the labour market: an analysis of employers' behaviour

C.J.I.M. Henkens, C. Remery, J. Schippers

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Different policies are being promoted to increase the labour supply in ageing labour markets. This article presents the results of a large-scale survey carried out among Dutch employers into their management of the constraints presented by a tight labour market. Organizations take different measures in response to staff shortages, which can in fact be distinguished as four strategies. The first relates to the recruitment of new groups of workers: groups that traditionally were perhaps not a preferred choice. The principal measures in this strategy are the recruitment of women and ethnic workers, and to a lesser extent the elderly. The second strategy focused on increasing the labour supply of existing workers. Overtime, encouraging part-timers to work extra hours and a structural increase in the length of the working week were part of this strategy. The measures constituting the third strategy were of a different type. Generally, these measures were adopted in order to cope with temporary peaks. Work was outsourced, a recruitment agency used, and higher wages offered to try to fill a vacancy. The fourth strategy focused on substituting technology/capital for labour. Regression analyses is carried out to explain which strategies organizations use to deal with shortages. Keywords: ageing; employers; labour supply; workforce decline
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1327
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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