Ethnicaly diverse Amsterdam young people struggling to enter labor market

AMSTERDAM - Ethnically diverse young people in Amsterdam, especially those without a diploma, are struggling to enter the labor market despite the city’s attempts to help. In 2019, 68 percent of ethnically diverse young people with a maximum education level of VMBO or MBO-1 had a job. In 2022, that was 67 percent, Parool reports based on the latest figures from Amsterdam’s Research & Statistics department. 

The fact that ethnically diverse young people, aged 15 to 26, are having no more luck finding a job is striking because the same category of young people with a Dutch-only background are working more. In 2019, 73 percent of Dutch-only young people without a diploma had a job. In 2022, it was 80 percent. 

The unemployment rate is also higher among ethnically diverse young people (10 percent) than Dutch-only young people (7 percent) in the city. The unemployment rate is the highest among Dutch-Caribbean (14.3%), Dutch-Turkish (13.1%), Dutch-Surinamese (12.7%), and Dutch-Moroccan (11.7%) young people in Amsterdam. 

Labor alderman Rutger Groot Wassink recognizes that ethnically diverse young people, school leavers, and vulnerable young people are struggling in the Amsterdam labor market. He called it good that in 2022, Amsterdam was at a comparable level of unemployment as before the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the city invested 9 million euros to supplement existing measures against youth unemployment. 

“This included setting up job centers in neighborhoods, organizing job fairs and networking events, and linking youth advisors to vocational institutions. The results of the jobs plan with the Johan Cruijff Arena show that direct collaboration with companies is also successful,” Groot Wassink said. But he also believes that the municipality must do more to ensure that struggling groups can find work faster.