Like previous years, 2019 was characterised by a tight labour market. The number of job vacancies is increasing, unemployment figures are falling, the population is ageing and the share of young people in the labour market is declining. At the same time, jobs are changing due in part to technological developments. NS is seeing the effects of labour market shortages in its recruitment efforts in a number of regions and in crucial disciplines such as technology, IT, service and retail. NS intends to remain one of the most attractive employers in the Netherlands. We are positioning ourselves as an employer by telling people what we do, how we do it and why. In our labour market campaigns we feature a huge diversity of colleagues within NS, inviting them to explain what they believe is important in a job and how NS has helped them achieve that. We also feature the wide variety of opportunities at NS that allow our people to keep the Netherlands accessible to all and contribute to mobility in this country. To that end, we use a range of different recruitment channels, each of which is tailored to a particular target group, and we involve our own staff in finding new colleagues. We communicate with the labour market both offline and online, in a targeted fashion and centred around the following pay-off: 'Tomorrow's journey starts with you’. For each target group we have identified the elements they value most in working for NS, and we specifically highlight those elements in our campaigns.
In 2019, we were among the top 10 of Intelligence Group’s ranking of favourite employers, and among the top 5 favourite employers identified by the Image Survey of Intermediair, a recruitment website for higher educated personnel. In addition, Werkenbijns.nl won the Digital Recruitment Award for best recruitment website in the Netherlands.
NS recruited over 4,000 new employees in 2019, including around 2,100 for jobs in the retail formats at the stations. In 2019, we filled 2,671 vacancies for people with vocational qualifications and 1,064 vacancies for graduates of applied and research universities (2018: 3,555 and 746 respectively). A total of 247 chief guards and 103 Safety & Service staff were hired, and 49 trainees started with us. The hiring desk filled 584 temporary positions.
Effective from 2019, new employees are required to attend an onboarding programme focusing on the mission and core values of NS. The programme commences right upon the signing of the employment contract, when the new colleague receives a pre-onboarding app that is meant to both welcome and inform them. The app provides them with general information about NS as an organisation, desirable forms of behaviour, working methods and our corporate culture. When they start their duties, new colleagues are required to complete a series of e-learning modules that focus on such issues as safety and privacy. To conclude the onboarding programme, new colleagues take part in a '100% NS' day: a monthly event which comprises a half-day of personal introductions to give new employees an idea of the course of NS and enable them to meet members of our Executive Board and other colleagues. The programme gained a score of 9.5 out of 10 among its participants.