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Find Out How to Get a Job and Work in Amsterdam

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  • Salil Padmanabh

    At the InterNations events here in Amsterdam, I've come to know so many friendly expats. Both Indians and expatriates from other countries.

Amsterdam is home to many international corporate headquarters. This often means that English-speaking expats might have a good chance of finding a job in Amsterdam. However, keep in mind that competition is fierce and knowing Dutch will work in your favor.

When adjusting yourself to the Dutch ways, keep in mind that timekeeping is important, and straightforwardness is commonplace. So, do not be late for meetings and, if you do get a blunt comment about your performance from your boss, do not take it for rude—for the Dutch, identifying a problem is the first step towards solving it.

The one problem that you are not likely to have if you work in this city is keeping with your life-work balance. Both employers and employees respect everyone’s need for private life and do not expect people to work overtime. However, dedication when it comes to your work is still necessary.

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Job Market Overview

This job market overview will introduce you to what you should expect from working in Amsterdam. This international city has plenty to offer for professionals of many different fields. However, know that most expats need to be high-level workers to compete in the city’s market.

Things to Know About Working in Amsterdam

At work, the Dutch are rather informal and non-hierarchical. Honesty and directness are very appreciated from everyone in the company. Meetings are frequent, and lunch breaks are rather quick as workers like to stay efficient. However, that does not mean that people are solely focused on work.

One of the common reasons why people want to move to Amsterdam is the appealing work-life balance. Working overtime is unusual and even disapproved. Many employers prefer efficiency versus workers putting in extra hours of labor. Social gatherings with colleagues after work are also common.

The Dutch are also quite flexible when it comes to working from home. Additionally, they often accommodate parents of young families that wish to spend more time with their children by allowing them to adjust their schedules accordingly.

International Companies in Amsterdam

With plenty of major global companies situated around Amsterdam and a rather international business atmosphere, expat professionals have many opportunities to get hired here. However, the competition can be fierce as EU/EEA citizen applicants are always given priority over foreigners. If you are an expat from overseas, know that a potential employer needs to prove that no one in the Netherlands or EU/EEA could fill your position.

  • Adidas
  • Cisco Systems
  • Heineken
  • ING
  • Netflix
  • Nike
  • Panasonic Europe
  • Patagonia
  • Philips
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Tesla Motors
  • Tommy Hilfiger/PVH
  • Under Armor

Most In-Demand Jobs in Amsterdam

Specialists of the following qualifications are the most sought after in Amsterdam:

  • IT and data science
  • finance
  • health and life sciences
  • business
  • e-commerce
  • manufacturing
  • media communications
  • hospitality
  • education

Most Required Skills in Amsterdam

The European Center of Development and Vocational Training predict that in the coming years the job market in the Netherlands will require many professionals. The demand will grow for high-level occupations in science, healthcare engineering, business, and teaching. The need for service and sales workers will also continue to increase. A big part of the job positions will require high qualifications.

Booming Industries in Amsterdam

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
  • FinTech
  • life sciences and health
  • logistics
  • creative industries (fashion, gaming, broadcasting, etc.)
  • aerospace

Average Salary

In general, the average salary in Amsterdam is higher than in the rest of the Netherlands. However, the cost of living here is also higher.

These are the estimates of average monthly salaries in Amsterdam according to professions. Where exactly your salary offer lands in the given range, depends on the amount of the experience you have.

Profession Salary (EUR) Salary (USD) Administrator 1,800­–3,300 2,000–3,665 Marketing Professional 2,300–5,500 2,555–6,110 Customer Service Representative 2,300–3,700 2,555–4,110 Sales (w/o commission) 2,200–6,000 2,445–6,660 Accountant 2,300–4,600 2,555–5,110 Software Developer 2,600–6,000 2,885–6,660 Data Analyst 2,200–5,000 2,445–5,550

What Is a Good Salary in Amsterdam?

In Amsterdam, it is common to earn about 36,000 EUR (39,975 USD) per year before tax. That is a sufficient amount that will let you live in Amsterdam but on a tight budget. If you wish to live more freely and allow yourself to splurge once in a while, you are looking to earn about 50,000 EUR (55,520 USD) per year.

What Is the 30% Ruling?

The tax advantage that is commonly called 30% ruling is a tax relief for highly skilled migrants. It is a 30% tax relief that is supposed to compensate for the moving expenses and expat experiences. This relief lasts for five years.

How to Get a Job in Amsterdam

Looking for a job via an online platform must be the most popular way of getting a job in Amsterdam. Local businesses and big corporations alike often update their job listings, so keeping an eye on a company you admire can be fruitful. International companies usually do not mind for their candidates to apply from abroad as video call interviews are an acceptable part of the hiring process. However, this might be an issue if you are trying to land a job with a local business.

Contacting local recruitment agencies or the public employment service is also an option. While most of the jobs they offer might be for Dutch speaking candidates, they also cater to English or other language speaking expats as well.

If you manage to get to Amsterdam before landing a job, look into the classified section of the local newspapers for possible job offers.

Tips for Getting a Job in Amsterdam

The main difference between getting a job in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands is that Amsterdam has a constant flow of tourists. That is why positions related to tourism (tour guides, hotel or restaurant staff, sales assistants and cashiers, etc.) do not always require the knowledge of the Dutch language. That often makes it easier for expats to land jobs in this sector. However, the common disadvantage is that you need to be in the city to attend the interviews.

The language barrier is a lesser problem for high-level professionals too as their expertise can sometimes outweigh a lack of language skills. However, knowing at least conversational Dutch is a significant advantage. Also, note that knowing German or French can be valuable assets, too.

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Entrepreneurship is prevalent in Amsterdam amongst both locals and expats alike. Whichever self-employment route you choose, whether you set up a business or go freelance, you will need to arrange your official working space. In some instances, your private residence might qualify to become your office; however, many entrepreneurs opt for co-working spaces.

Amsterdam has more than 100 co-working offices around the city. Tight-knit communities or more expansive spaces that offer plenty of events are available to local and international freelancers.

These are some of the popular co-working spaces in Amsterdam:

  • The Thinking Hut—two open offices located in Oost and Zuid; daily price is 20 EUR (22 USD) while monthly unlimited hours with a designated space is 350 EUR (390 USD); meeting rooms available; has a monthly event schedule.
  • Bouncespace—an open office with private rooms located on the border of West and Zuid near the museum neighborhood and the biggest city park; price for monthly access starts at 129 EUR (143 USD); meeting rooms available; espresso bar, barbershop, and a tattoo parlor on site.
  • TQ—two open offices with private rooms located in Centrum and Zuid; monthly price for a dedicated desk is 375 EUR (416 USD); meeting rooms and phone booths available; has a monthly event schedule.
  • Meet Berlage—an open office with private rooms located in Centrum; monthly price for a working space starts at 125 EUR (139 USD); meeting rooms available; has a café where members get discounts; open 24/7.
  • WeWork—four open offices with private rooms located in Centrum and Zuid; monthly price for access starts at 195 EUR (216 USD) (cost depends on location); meeting rooms and phone booths available; has a monthly event schedule; some sites have event spaces, bike storage, and parking included.
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