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The dutch dream; or why tech talent is moving to the Netherlands


The Netherlands has an acute shortage of tech talent, which will have to be filled by local new grads, career changers and international talent. High salaries and the best work-life balance worldwide are awaiting. And coding bootcamps are the fastest and most effective pathway to enter such a career in tech. Ironhack is opening a new campus in Amsterdam to prepare this new generation of digital creators for the Netherlands.

You want to get a job in tech. First, stop being obsessed with Silicon Valley. And second, start looking to the Netherlands and considering it as your next move. Best talent is already doing so. And we just moved-in as well. Seriously, move here, now. You will not regret it, at all.

A huge tech-talent shortage: in Amsterdam there are x26 job vacancy openings per available junior tech worker

Still skeptical? Let’s start with the facts then.

1. Best European place to work in tech

Amsterdam is a magnet for tech talent. According to I Amsterdam there is a pool of over 250k tech workers in the city. With an urban population of around one million people, that means that c.25% of its population works in tech. Not bad, huh?

Hubspot already pointed it out in a recent survey: the dutch capital is “The best European Tech City to work in”. Surprised? Well, an average salary of tech workers of above €4k per month (net!) might have some guilt.

But there is more.

2. Best work-life balance, worldwide!

Times have changed. Quality of life matters, increasingly more than big pay-checks. And this is clearer for tech talent and millennial.

The Netherlands is a top candidate country for them. It is the only country in Europe with 3 cities in the top 15 rank of Quality of Life by Numbeo and ranks #1 country in the world for work-life balance by OECD, with only 0.5% of people working over 50 hours per week. If you add that the commuting times to work are among the lowest in the world and that the cost of living is substantially lower than in other developed hubs, we can further understand why people love living in this country. Put it simple: pay well and live well, this is the dutch formula to attract the best talent.

Where do I sign, boss?

3. Massive tech talent shortage

It is a fact: the Netherlands, and specially Amsterdam, is suffering a huge tech talent shortage. According to a recent report released by StartupAmsterdam and Amsterdam Economic Board the demand for junior tech talent doubled in 2017, reaching a shocking figure of x26 job vacancy openings per available junior tech worker. And according to Sterksen, in the Randstad area (the largest Dutch urban region including the major cities) 5 out of 6 tech jobs openings were not filled in 2016. Wait, whaaat? Looks right, companies are desperate to hire tech talent in the Netherlands, and you didn’t know it (yet)!

Among the tech talent software developers are still the most sought-after candidates, as well as data scientists, who are extremely hard to find. Atomicopointed out the ‘dutch tech talent boom’ in their latest report “The State of European Tech 2017”, estimating that Amsterdam has a community of over 90k software developers (vs. 67k in 2016), which means a year-on-year growth of +35% of developer community, the fastest growing in Europe together with Paris.

4. Huge variety of international tech companies. And growing!

Tech names fight for the best talent. And the Netherlands is becoming the scenario of this battle, specially Amsterdam, where companies are moving-in unexpectedly fast: the city is now home to over 600 international tech corporates, of which 170 have chosen Amsterdam for their worldwide headquarters. Actually, many of the Silicon Valley big names themselves are setting up in Amsterdam, including Google, Uber, Netflix, Salesforce, DoubleDutch or Cisco. And the Brexit will favor it even more.

It is easy to understand why international companies love the Netherlands (and Amsterdam) to locate. Among other reasons: the country’s basic and secondary education level is well above other European countries; 90% of population speaks English; it is the gateway to Europe with a unique and fast transport links at 2–3 hour trip distance to main cities in the continent; it is home to the world’s latest data-transport hub and fastest internet broadband; and it is the one of the fastest early-adopter tech population in the world, which makes the city a perfect testbed for tech ventures and new tech products!

What else do you need to know to “go dutch”?

5. Home of worldwide renown innovators

The Dutch are worldwide recognised for their entrepreneur and innovation spirit. Actually, the Netherlands has been home to some of the most relevant multinationals across industries, such ING Bank, Philips, Amstel Brewery, Heineken, Exor, KLM, KPMG, Rabobank, Randstad, TNT Express or Unilever, to name a few. And, obviously, the Dutch have been also first movers in startups since early 90s: Booking.com, TomTom, WeTransfer, Catawiki, Elastic, Takeaway.com, Shapeways, Travelbird, Ace&Tate or The Next Web have been leading players in their respective fields and shaped entire industries.

This is a country of entrepreneurs. It is not surprising then that Amsterdam, Eindhoven and The Hague are ranked #1, #2 and #3 in Europe, respectively, on “basic and post-school entrepreneurial education and training”, as pointed out by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. And why does this matter? Easy: make your way into the Dutch tech scene and there is a high chance you could take part of the next generation of industry shaping businesses!

6. A real tech community, committed and collaborative

This, with no doubt, is my favourite part of the Dutch tech scene, so far. The sense of community in the Dutch ecosystem is incredible. Once you land here you feel part of the family and receive huge support from different ends.

To give you a sense of it: in just 2 weeks since we arrived to Amsterdam we have been already welcomed by top entrepreneur communities in the city such StartupGrind and StartupWeekend Amsterdam (Techstars); by AMSxTech, the biggest and private slack community in the city; by top co-working spaces and community hubs such WeWork MetropoolTQ,B.AmsterdamRent24 and CIC Rotterdam; by the leading tech schools transforming entrepreneurial education such Growth TribeThe Talent Institute and Restart.Network; by tech-specialised advisors such Newpeople and LXA; by leading Universities such us Hogeschool — University of Rotterdam; or by tech big corporates such as Atlassian and Unilever, to name a few!

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Source: Medium.com – Alvaro Gonzalez San Pedro (May 23, 2018)

Let's talk! Contact Lorraine Koevoets

Director Brand & Marketing
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