“Industry needs to step up digitalization”

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 3 minuten

If the manufacturing industry’s more than healthy growth rate of late is to be maintained, digitalization efforts need to be stepped up, according to an analysis by ING.

The Dutch manufacturing industry is doing well, according to ING research. Over the past five years, the sector’s added value grew five percent per year on average in the 2017-2021 period – almost twice as fast as the historical rate of 2.8 percent in the past quarter of a century. Its share in the economy at large increased from 4.5 to 4.8 percent, reversing a long-standing trend of decline. If the industry manages to maintain the current rate, it could double its added value compared to the reference year 2010. For years, this goal seemed out of reach, but in light of recent developments, ING’s economists are reviving it.

A major obstacle is standing in the way, however: a shortage of staff. According to a prognosis of the Research Center for Education and the Labour Market (ROA), published in July 2021, by 2026 the technological industry won’t be able to fill 15,000-20,000 vacancies for engineers, programmers, researchers and skilled laborers. Since this problem can’t be solved in the short term, the only alternative is to double down on digitalization, says ING.

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