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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Dutch Expats Leave a Modern Business Culture Behind

Dutch nationals working abroad are older, more likely to be men, and earn more money than the global average among working expats. While they are very satisfied with their working life abroad, they usually leave a modern business culture behind when relocating.

Why do Dutch nationals move abroad? According to the Expat Insider 2021 survey by InterNations, close to half the Dutch respondents working abroad (48%) relocated for their career: 18% of them found a job on their own, 17% were sent by their employer, and 11% were recruited internationally. Just 2% moved abroad to start their own business.

Aside from work-related reasons, an above-average share of Dutch nationals working abroad originally relocated for their partner’s job or education (9% vs. 4% globally) or because they wanted to live in their partner’s home country / for love (14% vs. 10% globally).

Older than Average and More Likely to Be Men

Dutch expats working abroad are on average 49.8 years old, which is significantly older than the global average (43.1 years). Additionally, a larger-than-average share of them are men (63% vs. 53% globally) and in a committed relationship (71% vs. 61% globally).

When it comes to their level of education, 44% of Dutch expats working abroad have a postgraduate/master’s degree, which is just slightly below the global average of 47%. Another 35% have a bachelor’s degree (vs. 33% globally), while 8% hold a PhD (vs. 8% globally).

They Often Work in IT or Consulting and Like Being Their Own Boss

The most common fields that Dutch expats work in are IT (10%) and coaching & consulting (10%). While IT is also very popular among working expats worldwide (11%), just 3% of expats globally work in the field of coaching & consulting. On the other hand, Dutch expats are underrepresented in the fields of education (6% vs. 12% globally) and healthcare (3% vs. 6% globally).

More than a quarter of Dutch expats working abroad (26%) are in a senior/specialist position, which is a smaller proportion than the global average (30%). However, 17% are top managers and executives (vs. 13% globally). And while just 2% moved abroad to start their own business, more than one in ten Dutch expats (11%) run their own business now (vs. 7% globally.) Another 17% are self-employed / freelancers, which is also a considerably higher percentage than the global average (11%).

Dutch Expats Are in It for the Long Run and Earn More Money

About a third of Dutch nationals working abroad (33%) have lived in their current country of residence for more than ten years — nine percentage points more than the global average (24%). And they are planning to stay: close to two in five Dutch expats (37%) see themselves staying there possibly forever, while this is only the case for 30% of working expats globally.

Maybe their above-average incomes play a role in this decision: more than two in five Dutch respondents (43%) have a gross yearly income ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 USD (vs. 33% globally). About one in three (33%) even make 100,000 USD or more per year, which is ten percentage points above the global average (23%). On the other hand, just 25% earn 50,000 USD or less, compared to 44% globally.

This is the case even though Dutch expats are more likely to work part time than expats worldwide: close to one-quarter (23%) work part time (vs. 18% globally), while 77% work full time (vs. 82% globally). However, the average working hours among all Dutch respondents working abroad (full-time and part-time workers combined) are still slightly longer than the global average (40.3 hours vs. 39.9 hours per week globally).

Dutch Expats Leave an Excellent Working Life Behind

More than four in five Dutch expats (81%) are generally satisfied with their job abroad, while globally just 73% of working expats feel this way. They also have slightly above-average levels of satisfaction with their work-life balance (71% vs. 68% globally) and their working hours (72% vs. 70% globally). While they are also happy with their job security (69% vs. 67% globally), just 46% of Dutch expats working abroad rate the local career opportunities positively (vs. 49% globally). And just about three in five (61%) are happy with the state of the local economy in their respective host country (vs. 65% globally).

Looking at the top 5 most common destinations among Dutch nationals working abroad yields quite interesting results: They are Germany, the USA, Switzerland, France, and Portugal. Aside from Germany (6th), all destinations rank behind the Netherlands (13th) in the Working Abroad Index of the Expat Insider 2021 survey. Switzerland comes 18th, followed by France (21st), the USA (26th), and Portugal (36th).

In fact, it seems like Dutch expats leave quite an excellent working life behind when moving abroad: Expats living in the Netherlands are more satisfied with all factors concerning their working life than Dutch nationals working abroad. Close to four in five expats working in the Netherlands (79%) are happy with their working hours, and 78% rate their work-life balance positively. Additionally, 57% of expats working in the Netherlands are satisfied with the local career opportunities, 87% rate the state of the local economy positively, and 76% are happy with their job security.

New Work Is Important in the Netherlands — What about Abroad?

What is more, many Dutch expats also leave modern approaches to work behind when moving abroad. In fact, close to half the Dutch expats (48%) find that factors like autonomy, freedom, creativity, personal development, and self-fulfillment are less important in the business culture of their current country of residence than in the Netherlands. These values are closely related to the concept of New Work, which describes the new way of working in the global and digital age. Globally, just 23% say that these factors are less important in their current host country than back home.

When it comes to expats comparing the importance of New Work in the local business culture, the Netherlands ranks 5th out of 55 countries. More than three-quarters of expats in the Netherlands (76%) say that New Work is important there. Out of the most common destinations among Dutch expats, only the USA (1st) ranks ahead of the Netherlands (5th) in this regard. Switzerland (23rd), Portugal (28th), Germany (35th), and France (47th) all perform worse. For example, just 45% of expats working in France say that New Work is important in the local business culture.

A Good Work-Life Balance Is More Important than a High Salary

Just how important modern concepts of work are for Dutch expats also becomes clear when they are asked what would be most important to them in their dream job. More than half (51%) mention a good work-life balance, which makes this factor the most frequently cited aspect among Dutch expats. Globally, expats consider a good compensation and/or good benefits the most important factor (54%). For Dutch expats, this is just their second priority (43%).

What is more, there are three aspects that are much more important to Dutch expats working abroad than to the global average: 37% of Dutch expats envision creative/interesting tasks in their ideal work environment, compared to 29% of expats globally. This factor is followed by independence and/or flat hierarchies (17% vs. 11% globally) and the employer’s mission/vision (13% vs. 10% globally).

While money is still an important factor for many people working abroad, Dutch expats show that the trend may be going slowly in another direction,” says Malte Zeeck, InterNations Founder and Co-CEO. “It seems they are looking for more than just a generous salary in their dream job: they want flexibility and a good work-life balance, as well as interesting and creative tasks. So, money alone might soon not be enough to win them over.”

What Dutch Expats Wish For — And What They Get

Unfortunately, what Dutch expats wish for is not necessarily what they get. When asked what they like best about their current job, a good work-life balance (31%) is the third most frequently mentioned factor. All the other aspects mentioned above do not make it into the top 3: creative/interesting tasks (28%), a good compensation and/or good benefits (25%), and independence and/or flat hierarchies at work (21%). The employer’s mission/vision is even the least frequently mentioned aspect at 10% — this share is even smaller than the global average of 12%.

So, what are the two aspects that Dutch expats enjoy most about their current job? They particularly appreciate the opportunity to work remotely / from home (36%) and their flexible working hours (33%). In fact, the majority of Dutch expats (79%) has at least the option to work remotely, and 62% out of those who can work remotely actually enjoy doing so. This share is, however, slightly below the global average (65%). Remote work is also not that relevant to Dutch expats in their ideal work environment: just 21% name it as an important aspect of their dream job.

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