The labor market in Amsterdam

Amsterdam by night
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Updated 2022-08-15 12:36

Part of your big move to the Netherlands probably involves finding a job once you're settled. Not lining up work before you relocate can be daunting but, in some cases, necessary. If you aren't coming to Amsterdam with a contract from your current company, then you'll want to know what the job market is like here.

Jobs available in Amsterdam

Initially, you may want to pick up a bar or restaurant waiting job so you can make ends meet while you get situated. Fortunately, Amsterdam is a great place to be for these types of jobs since most don't even require that you speak Dutch. In fact, more and more spaces are popping up where the employees only speak English, so you should be able to easily find a food services job, especially when it's high season in the summer. This is even truer after the pandemic, as people quit or were laid off in droves when lockdowns happened, and now, establishments need staff again as business is going on as usual now.

For higher-skilled jobs, certain industries fare better than others for expats. In general, if you want to start a career in Amsterdam, the fields of media, marketing, financial services, and IT aren't difficult to get into.

For other fields, you still have a better chance of finding a job in Amsterdam than in other cities in Europe. Many companies (including those from the USA and UK) have foreign branches, so you can either ask for a transfer from your home base or apply for a job in Amsterdam.

Wages in Amsterdam

If you're coming from the United States, for example, pay may not seem very high in the Netherlands. For those over 21 years old, as of July 2022, the minimum wage is €1,756.20 per month. Obviously, for more skilled jobs, companies will offer more attractive salaries.

You may also qualify for something called the 30% ruling. If you were recruited from over 150 kilometers away from the Dutch border, and your annual salary is at least €39,467 (or €30,000 if you have a Master's degree and are younger than 30), you can claim this ruling; it used to be you could claim it for eight years, but as of January 2019, it has been shortened to five years.

With the 30% ruling, your contracted salary is reduced by 30%. However, the amount in the 30% is considered a tax-free allowance. This money is intended to cover the costs you've incurred from relocating for your job.

How competitive is the job market in Amsterdam?

How competitive the Amsterdam job market is depends on what field you're in and how many languages you speak. If you're fine with employment in food services, you probably won't run into many obstacles, even without knowing the Dutch language. In fact, you'll find opportunities abound in food services and retail, as many places are struggling to fill positions.

In general, you can fare pretty well with just English, but having Dutch language skills is definitely a plus. If you can speak French or German, it'll be easier to find employment with international companies. Scandinavian languages are particularly high in demand, so if you're a native speaker, it should be fairly easy for you to secure a job.

Another thing you have to consider is that Dutch companies have to prove they've tried recruiting within the Netherlands and were unsuccessful before they recruit from abroad. Because of this, you're at a huge disadvantage when compared to native Dutch workers if you're a non-EU citizen.

Also, in most cases, employers will have to arrange for a work visa on your behalf, as well as be your sponsor. These additional inconveniences and costs may make hiring foreign workers less attractive than hiring native ones.

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