Working in NL

Dutch labour market

What about the Dutch labour market?

The situation on the Dutch labour market and the demand for workers


To get an indication of your chances of finding a job in the Netherlands, you'll need information about the Dutch labour market.


For certain professions there is a lack of qualified jobseekers from the Netherlands. As a result there is a growing interest of Dutch employers for recruitment of groups of workers from other European Economical Area (EEA: European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) member-states and countries outside the EEA.


How can you find work in the Netherlands?


There are several ways to find a job in the Netherlands. Check as many resources as possible because the job market is a competitive place and there is no point sitting and waiting for a job to come to you. Of course you can have a look at the job sites of Eures and the Public Employment Service (CWI). Also there are the national and regional newspapers with job ads. Many jobs in the Netherlands are obtained by personal mediation of future colleagues, or by a spontaneous application to a firm where you may fit in. The Dutch labour market offers plenty of opportunities. Part time work is widespread, but may not provide enough income for a living. Also temporary jobs are quite common, as is seasonal work in agriculture and horticulture. Your job search should start before departure. The Eures adviser in your own area can help you find proper ways, so can the job sites mentioned in this website.


Personal contacts


Finding a job through personal contacts is quite common. Word-of-mouth information and references are considered helpful and important in application and selection procedures. Making contacts can be done in an informal way. It is not considered correct to ask people directly for a job in their company. Just ask them for information and the job opportunities. People are usually willing to give advice and additional information about their employer. Do not hesitate to inquire or present yourself by phone. A telephone enquiry is direct, brief and efficient. It is quite appreciated by Dutch companies.


Public Employment Service


The public employment service (CWI, Centre for Work and Income) plays an important role in the Dutch labour market. They assist people to find a job. Public employment agencies ("CWI's") are relatively active on the Dutch labour market. They are essential when looking for a job, but they also give advice, information and other help. For vacancies and other information, you do not have to be registered in a Dutch employment agency. However, if you want to qualify for unemployment benefit you have to be registered. In that respect it is important to have a personal registration number (BSN). You need this number anyway, if you work in the Netherlands.


Temporary employment agencies


Private sector temporary employment agencies (uitzendbureaus) are widespread. Work on a temporary basis is often used to gain work experience, which is considered particularly important in the Netherlands. Almost all occupations are covered by temporary employment agencies. Previously, the emphasis was on jobs at secretarial level; however, the tendency nowadays is that high skilled workers, such as engineers or computer experts also work through temporary employment agencies. Other types of employment normally handled includes administrative, accountancy and technical personnel. Some temporary agencies are also specialised in certain occupational sectors, such as health care. There is also a special temporary employment agency who deals with students. Many temporary employment agencies can be found on the internet.


Media advertisements


Jobseekers should primarily consult Dutch newspapers for vacancies. The Saturday editions of the national papers, NRC Handelsblad, de Volkskrant, de Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad all carry job offers. Advertisements in NRC Handelsblad are focused on business and managerial jobs. De Volkskrant carries a lot of advertisements in the educational and medical field. Mainly commercial vacancies are found in de Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad. Regional newspapers are recommended for jobs in specific local areas. During weekdays two free papers, Metro and Spits are handed out at the rail- and busstations. Every day you can find a small range of vacancies throughout these editions. The bi-weekly magazine, Intermediair, aims specifically at students and higher educated job seekers. In addition, Intermediair has an annual year book, Intermediair Jaarboek. It contains advertisements and much information on companies and recruitment procedures.




Internet is a common and an excellent tool for jobhunting. There are many interesting Dutch sites on the internet. On several sites you can register your CV in a job database. Employers often check them in search of new recruits.

More often established recruitment agencies, job agencies, papers and magazines offer their adds and job search services on the internet. It is also worthwhile checking the internet for company information. Many employers present themselves and offer jobs at their homepage.


Speculative applications


Speculative applications are very common and successful in the Netherlands. Even if the company has currently no vacancies, they will still keep applications on file. Information about companies and directories are provided by organisations like Chambers of Commerce or the embassy/consulate of your country. You can also check eg. magazines and of course the internet. Before writing your application, make sure to phone in advance. It is common for speculative as well as normal applications. This call should be made to the human resources manager. The objective is to make yourself known, just briefly, and to demonstrate your initiative. Make sure you have specific points or questions to raise. You could, for example, telephone to find out more about the structure of the company or to whom you should address an application letter.


Job Fairs


Job fairs are occasionally used for recruitment in the Netherlands, though they are not as widespread as, for example, in the United Kingdom. Fairs are organised by region, by university faculty or by occupational sector.