Labor market is a problem

Published on 21/05/2024

Arthur Schellekens, Country Manager Netherlands at Coface, has been working for 24 years at the organization that helps entrepreneurs worldwide make credit decisions. About a hundred professionals work at the credit insurer in the Netherlands, and there are thousands of employees worldwide who operate from a hundred countries. Despite its size, the French organization has managed to create the same DNA everywhere. Customers notice that the insurer is involved with them and that they are really being helped. The working atmosphere is very pleasant and there is a high willingness to work together and celebrate successes. And that is exactly why Arthur never left Coface. 

“I started as an acceptor twenty-four years ago and became a board member in 2009. I had a position in risk underwriting, determining the amount of credit limits, and I worked in Germany as a Regional Risk Director, for example. This is a small selection of the diversity of steps that I have taken and have been able to take in our organization. In November 2023 I was appointed Country Manager Netherlands. The fact that I have been working in our organization for quite some time confirms that it is a pleasant but also professional organization to work in. Personally, I find it nice and enriching to be in frequent contact with my foreign colleagues, brokers and customers. From steel trading to fabric upholstery, the industry diversity is enormous. The Netherlands is an export country, we desperately need our international colleagues and networks to carry out our work excellently, which makes a direct contribution to the Dutch and international economy.” 

Outlook

The economy seems to be improving somewhat and Arthur says he expects mild growth for the Netherlands. “The corona crisis has of course had a major impact, just like the financial crisis. But we must not forget that even without those extreme events, every economy needs a reset every now and then. That should perhaps have happened in 2019, but it did not happen due to the corona support. After that, the reset was actually not too bad, consumer spending, for example, is still at a good level. Yes, we are coming out of a recession, but there also seems to be a different mindset that seems to influence our saving and spending behavior. So we expect mild growth for the Netherlands. There are problems, such as the tight labor market combined with slowing productivity growth. Bottom line: We need more people to keep up with growth. That tightness is palpable. The demography is changing and we only expect more productive workers on the market around 2030/2040. And even in the most favorable economic situation, current geopolitical developments also raise concerns. Nevertheless, there is reason for some optimism.” 

Reliable relationship

The credit insurance market is a market that greatly supports the economy. Our sector could do with selling itself a little better in that regard. Arthur: “I know, at parties people don't immediately get very enthusiastic about our work. I don't want to say that we have a bad image, but rather that we are unknown. And unknown makes you unloved. I think that as a sector we should position ourselves a bit more firmly. Our industry makes a significant contribution to the economy. By sharing more knowledge, telling us what and how we approach matters, that we really think along with customers and offer solutions. That we protect our customers when doing international and national business. And that is where Coface and Xolv is a reliable partner for us, always very well prepared, the professionals deliver everything on time and they are strong in analyzing based on data, experience and knowledge. That suits us very well as Coface, we hope to be able to work with Xolv for a long time to come!” 

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