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How Holland works

How the job market in Holland works

For most jobs a work permit will not be arranged, therefore you should be an EU/EER-citizen or already in the possession of general Dutch work permission. If you are not from an EU/EER-country, a future employer might only provide a work permit if you possess special (technical) skills that are otherwise rare to find. You can find more in depth information regarding this subject on our special page Work Permit information, at the UWV site Werk.nl or through the IND (Dutch Immigration Office). More general requirements:

  • Most job opportunities at international companies are in customer service, engineering and ICT. Business ares include high tech, R&D, oil/gas, offshore, maritime, electronics, telecom, web development and eCommerce etc.
  • Most jobs require a higher level education (bachelof, master, PhD) and relevant (industry) work experience.
  • Please keep in mind that you need a good, working knowledge of English (especially spoken). In the majority of companies, English is the company language. Without a good knowledge of English your chances of getting a job are zero to none.
  • The more additional languages you speak, the better. However, only mention a language if you can comfortably work with it in a professional environment, and towards customers. For most jobs in ICT & Engineering just English is sufficiënt.
  • It is useless to apply for jobs for which you do not meet the requirements as listed in the job description. Requirements concerning education, length and type of work experience, hard skills and EU/EEA citizenship are usually hard critaria that have to be met.

Your CV

  • A CV should be no more then 2-3 pages, A4.
  • Your CV should contain:
    • Your personal data (name, adress, date of birth, gender etc.)
    • An overview of your work experience (starting with your latest job). List tasks and skills applied with each job and not only in a separate list.
    • An overview of your school education (starting with your latest education)
    • An overview of relevant skills (software, hardware and tools knowledge)
    • On overview of relevant courses and extra-curricular activities
    • Your hobbies and interests
    • As an extra, you could could add a profile, listing your main skills and competencies in 1 or 2 sentences (after Personal data)
    • A sober, businesslike font such as Verdana, Arial, Times New Roman. Do not use a playful font like Comic Sans, for example.
    • Enough margins and white space on a page, for readability and clarity

Gross and net wages

Salaries are communicated gross (before income tax), and per month, on a fulltime basis. Holland has a progressive tax system: the more you earn, the more taxes you pay as a percentage of your income. Income tax is deducted before monthly payment by your employer, which means you get net wages transferred to your bank account, usually at the end of every month.

To calculate from gross to net you can roughly take 75% of your gross salary if it's below €2000,- gross per month. At a salary rate of, for example €6500,-, net would be approx. 55% of gross. However, especially the employer specific pension scheme has a big influence. Furthermore there are some additional secondary employment conditions possible (health care insurance, savings scheme, bonuses etc. etc.) which means you actually earn a bit less or more.

As a foreigner, you could be eligable for the 30%-ruling, which means you will not have to pay taxes over the first 30% of your income. Very attractive, you will however have to meet certain criteria like long distance from your home country, a certain minimum salary level et cetera.

A customer service position at an international callcenter will pay somewhere between €1500,- and €2000,- gross per month. An engineer can earn anything between €3000,- - 5000,- gross depending on seniority and specialization. (Project) management roles could pay more.

You will also get holiday pay (8% of your gross annual salary), which will be paid around June every year. Normally, the basic gross annual salary is therefore the monthly gross salary X 12,96. Furthermore, often (part of) pension contribution is deducted from your gross salary (before taxes). If and how much depends on the specific pension scheme of your employer.

You can also check a costs of living comparison although the rent costs mentioned in major cities in Holland are somewhat high in this comparison. Just outside major cities rents are usually lower. Furthermore, restaurant costs as mentioned are not seen as regular costs of living as in Dutch culture visiting a restaurant regularly for dinner is uncommon: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp

Other employment conditions

Some common employment conditions and additional benefits:

  • Working hours: a fulltime work week is usually 40 hours, Monday to Friday
  • Probation period: 1 or 2 months, depending on the contract type (limited or indefinite term).
  • Pension scheme: standard. It's often even mandatory to sign up. Usually, part of the monthly contribution is paid for by the employer, this could be as much as 100%. Your own contribution will be deducted from the gross salary and is therefore tax free.
  • Health care scheme: health care is payed privately, however relatively cheap (for 250,- per month you can have your whole family fully covered including dental care). Most employers do offer discounted health insurance (so called collective insurance). Discounts are approx. 10-20%. Please notice: having a health care insurance is mandatory in The Netherlands! Here's more information about our Dutch health insurance system: http://www.zorgverzekering.org/eng/general-information/
  • Bonuses and commissions: quite common for commercial positions, could be both team based and individual.
  • Holidays: usually, approx. 25 holidays per year are offered (public holidays not included). This can vary, however 20 holidays is considered a minimum.
  • Sick pay: when working on a regular contract, sick leave will be paid absence.
  • Maternity leave: 16 weeks.