It’s a simple truth of life: meaningful work is an essential need for all, regardless of a person’s background or status. For countless numbers of refugees seeking resettlement, this fact is especially true as employment for their wellbeing is as important as security, housing and other necessities. As the refugee crisis worsens due to recent events, the global community must come together to address their immediate needs including access to decent and meaningful jobs.

On this year’s World Refugee Day, this need is more urgent than ever. The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, continuing conflicts in the Middle East and deteriorating economic situations in the Americas and elsewhere have led millions to flee their birth countries. According to the UN, total forced displacement now exceeds 100 million people for the first time on record, over twice as many as a decade ago. While host governments have rallied to help people in need, they cannot do this alone. Employers and other organizations must commit more resources and support to alleviate the worsening situation.   

As an organization committed to touching the work lives of people around the world, Randstad has long supported refugees in their journey by providing access to jobs, skilling resources and career support. Through various local initiatives and our work with the Tent Partnership for Refugees, we have significantly expanded our pledge to help 20,000 people in need over the next three years.   

Furthermore, we have built a technology platform that will better connect fleeing Ukrainians to jobs in their host countries. With access in their native language as well as in English, job seekers can quickly and specifically find roles that are suited to their skills and location. We are also helping refugees with onboarding, CV creation, job-finding advice and other forms of assistance. In Spain, for example, Randstad is collaborating with the Digital Center for Employment Assistance for Ukrainians to provide the necessary resources they need to stay in the country. Randstad Poland effectively manages refugee candidates in its talent pools to meet clients’ requirements. 

Additionally, we have provided direct financial support for thousands fleeing the ongoing war, including a company-wide drive to fund UNICEF’s relief efforts for children. To date, we have raised nearly €400,000 in employee donations and Randstad-matched funds.

We have for over a decade committed ourselves to helping millions of refugees around the world. For example, we recently entered into an initiative with the Tent Partnership for Refugees and Catalyst to mentor female refugees in Europe. Displaced women have traditionally experienced lower levels of employment than men, and our role will be to help them join the labor market more quickly through coaching on CV preparation, interview etiquette and professional networking.

hand in hand heart shape
hand in hand heart shape

In Australia, we have created a job readiness mentoring program for migrants and refugees. Working with clients and organizations that specialize in supporting these arrivals, Randstad has helped those coming from Iraq, Syria, Uganda, Kenya, Pakistan, and India. With the typical recipient between 18 and 30 years old, our effort is to help them quickly find employment and prepare them for a long career ahead.

you can make a difference

According to the UN, every minute 20 people around the world are made refugees as they escape war, persecution or terror. The causes of their situation are often complex and protracted, so their return home may take some time if it’s possible at all. What is assured, however, is that refugees have demonstrated to be excellent additions to any workforce as they are appreciative of the support and opportunities they receive in their host countries.

For this reason, it’s imperative to support the resettlement of those who have been displaced. Our individual actions can make a difference – for instance, connecting those in need of employment with decent, well-matched jobs. Within our personal networks, if we can help even one person find meaningful work, this will go a long way to easing their trauma and despair.       

At an organizational level, employers also have an obligation to help refugees find decent work, resettle and integrate within their host communities. Randstad believes this is part of our Human Forward promise, which simultaneously promotes the interests of all. By helping the displaced to obtain employment, it restores their hope, outlook and sense of meaning. At the same time, by reskilling and coaching refugees, companies can also tap into this highly productive source of talent.  

I urge all businesses presented with an opportunity to hire refugees to do so. For reasons mentioned above, their contributions to the labor market are remarkable considering the painful journey they’ve endured. Companies should keep this in mind when questioning whether refugee job applicants are likely to quit to return home. The fact is many are unlikely to go home quickly or return at all.

what you can do

On World Refugee Day, consider how you can support the many people who simply want to lead safe and secure lives that the rest of us enjoy. If you know a displaced person, you can do this by referring them to a suitable job on our global talentpool. You can learn more about relevant Randstad programs here


randstad refugee support
about the author
Chris Heutink Executive Board member
Chris Heutink Executive Board member

Chris Heutink

executive board member

Chris Heutink obtained a Master's degree in history. He started his career at Randstad as a consultant in the Netherlands. Various management positions followed until 2004, when he was promoted to become Managing Director of Randstad Poland. After moving back to the Netherlands in 2007, he became Director of Operations. In 2009, he was appointed Managing Director of Randstad Netherlands. Chris Heutink is responsible for the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Japan, the Greater China region, India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. In addition, he's responsible for HR.