Finding a job in Utrecht

Updated 2022-08-19 15:21

Utrecht may be a smaller city than Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but it's one that many expats find themselves flocking to. It's a city located centrally in the Netherlands, which makes it very convenient to get to and from. Because there are so many expats in Utrecht, you can find many services available that help internationals like you settle in as quickly and as easily as possible. You won't feel claustrophobic there because it doesn't have as many space constraints as other big cities.

The economy of Utrecht

In 2017, Utrecht experienced a 3.2% growth in its economy. This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering its central location in the Netherlands. In fact, in late 2021, a report found that Utrecht was the wealthiest province in the entire nation and that growth was projected to keep happening until 2050. It's become especially attractive to younger people, so not only will you find great job opportunities, but you'll also enjoy a vibrant city amongst peers your age if you're a younger adult.

Utrecht is the central hub for numerous things, such as the railway, water, and road infrastructure. It also serves as a national meeting point, which means it draws business from all corners of the world.

As of mid-2022, there's speculation that the Dutch economy might have a small recession. This is thanks to recent inflation.

Where to look for a job in Utrecht?

The best place to look for work in Utrecht is through online resources, such as Monsterboard, Indeed, and LinkedIn. These are job websites where you can search for vacancies in Utrecht or elsewhere if you're alright with commuting.

You can also look for work in Facebook groups for expats. They usually keep an eye out for one another and will post job opportunities so members can be the first applicants for vacancies.

Using LinkedIn

You stand the best chances of finding employment in Utrecht by using LinkedIn, so it's worth your time to figure out how this platform works. If you already have a Facebook account, then it shouldn't be difficult to learn LinkedIn, as it's very similar. The only difference is that LinkedIn is made specifically for business connections, while Facebook is for social ones.

To get the best results, you need to fill out your profile completely and professionally. This includes choosing a good picture that shows your face clearly and has no potential to be offensive. If you don't have a suitable picture, then dress in smart business clothes and take one against a white wall. As for the rest of your profile, list all your work and educational experience, as well as life skills.

The next step is to add as many contacts as possible, even if they're not located in Utrecht or the Netherlands. Having an expansive business network will increase your chances of landing a fantastic job.

Don't forget to upload your resume, either. This will make it much simpler to apply for jobs on this platform, as you can just attach it to the applications. You can just put all the information in your profile on your CV, or vice versa.

From here, you can use the job search function on LinkedIn. You can just put in "Utrecht" for the location and see everything available, or you can narrow it down by typing in the desired position in the search bar. If you don't see anything you like, you can set job alerts so when something of interest does pop up, you'll be the first to know. Otherwise, you can click on interesting listings to check out the descriptions and then directly apply if you'd like.

Don't forget to explore LinkedIn's other resources as well. These can help you improve your resume and interview skills. Not only that, but this platform has a salary calculator; this feature lets you see what other people in similar positions are being paid. That way, you won't be underpaid.

Asking around

Networking in person is still an efficient way to find job openings, especially since you may learn of some before they're even listed online. So ask around in your social groups to see if anyone knows of job opportunities in Utrecht and/or the Netherlands. Even if your friends and family aren't in the country, they may be able to put you in touch with someone who is. You just might gain a referral, which gives you a better chance of being hired.

Go to job fairs

Utrecht has many job fairs, especially for students who have just graduated or will soon. If you're one of these people, then these events are made especially for you! Take advantage by visiting each booth and getting details down so you can contact them again in the near future. You can also go to career workshops if you're not a student.

Whichever you choose, these events offer excellent networking opportunities. Not only can you see which companies have a presence in Utrecht, but you can also get a feel for which positions are in demand. If none of them fit you, not to worry, as you can keep the companies in mind. You can then check back later to see if they have relevant job openings. You can even strike up a conversation with the employees at the booths and get a personal connection. They might contact you if they leave their company's hiring.

Get in touch with businesses

Go online and browse business websites in Utrecht. Many list job opportunities that may not even be on other sites like Monsterboard and LinkedIn. If you see something you like, you can then get in touch with the business to apply.

If you're lucky, some websites will encourage people to write in about positions they might not have thought about. Writing in shows initiative, and you'll prove you can be of value to the company. Even if nothing comes to fruition immediately, there's a good chance the businesses will keep your resume on file. It's possible that they'll contact you later on if anything fits your qualifications.

Which are the most promising fields for expats in Utrecht?

One of the most extensive fields in Utrecht is healthcare. The Utrecht University Medical Center is one of the biggest ones in the Netherlands, and the city is also home to one of the only veterinary schools in the country. So if you're interested in healthcare, veterinary care, or biomedical industries, Utrecht is great for these.

As far as business goes, the most promising fields for expats are financial and business services, especially information and communication technology. You'll also find many gaming companies centered here, so if you're in this field yourself, there are excellent opportunities here.

As we said above, Utrecht is the central hub for a lot of the country's infrastructure. If you're an engineer, you may be able to find several projects to work on in Utrecht.

Another thing to note is that the pandemic left many industries with employment holes, especially the hospitality and retail ones. There are also plenty of openings for food delivery services, such as Thuisbezorgd and Deliveroo. While these may not be ideal long-term jobs for some people, they can provide some stability and income while you search for something better. It may be harder to find openings that take English-only speakers, but it's not impossible.

The unemployment rate in Utrecht

In 2021, the unemployment rate of Utrecht was 4.0%. This is a little higher than the national average, which means finding a job in Utrecht shouldn't be too difficult. However, it might be a little harder than, say, in Amsterdam.

Considering there are fewer multinational companies in Utrecht when compared to Amsterdam, you might find more jobs requiring fluency in Dutch for their employees. If you have a good grasp of the language, you'll have an easier time beating the unemployment rate. Also, if you speak another language, you might have some extra opportunities concerning customer service or translation services.

Wages in Utrecht

For people over 21 years of age, you'll receive at least €1,756.20 a month, €405.30 per week, or €81.06 per day (as of 1 July 2022). If you're under 21, then you'll earn a little less, depending on your specific age. These wages are set by the government, meaning these wages are uniform all across the Netherlands.

The national average for wages (for adults over 18) is around €36,000. The average salary in Utrecht is €61,790, so expect some attractive salaries for jobs in this city.

The work culture in Utrecht

Because there are fewer multinational companies in Utrecht, you can expect most workplace environments to be Dutch in nature. So make sure you understand the work culture or else risk offending your coworkers and superiors.

One of the most important things you can do is be punctual. Not only are the Dutch always on time for workplace events and meetings, but also for leisure activities as well. This should show you how vital it is to be on time. In fact, you should take care to arrive early, so this will make a good impression.

Another important thing to know about Dutchies is they're known for being direct. If you come from a culture where niceties are commonplace, and you dance around issues, then it can be tough adjusting to Dutch culture at first. The people at your office might even seem rude, but this is Dutch honesty and directness at play. You'll also find that meetings are very efficient, as you'll barely have small talk.

If you're used to not having a say in business operations, then you'll find the work culture in Utrecht refreshing. Teamwork is vital, and collaboration is a must. Regardless of your position in a business, your opinion will almost always be taken into consideration. Don't be surprised if you set changes in motion!

Also, the dress code will be relatively casual. Of course, it'll depend on your specific role and industry, but for the most part, you won't have to dress in stiff clothing. It's also common to see people openly displaying tattoos and piercings.

As for conversations, the Dutch won't be overly emotional. Try to match their enthusiasm (or lack thereof), and don't use too many hand gestures. It's also good to avoid using exaggerations in your language.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, expect to spend a little time with your coworkers after work. While Dutchies usually keep their work and personal lives separate, they do enjoy "borrels" with their coworkers. These are small after-work parties that usually happen on Fridays. You'll share beers and fried treats called borrelhapjes, and you'll get a chance to mingle and chat with one another. Some workplaces have borrels at the office while others choose off-site venues.

Your rights as an employee in Utrecht

Whether you work in Utrecht or some other Dutch city, you'll be pleased to know that it's the law to receive at least 20 paid days off if you're a full-time employee. In addition to that, you should receive a mandatory 8% holiday pay, which is to be used on your vacations! Even better is, in an effort to attract workers, many businesses offer more than just the bare minimum.

It can be worth your time to "shop around" for employers, especially if you've got high-demand skills. Some companies will offer packages that cover things like your commuting costs, as well as your child's school fees if applicable. In fact, employers must give you €0.19 per kilometer for commuting as a full-time employee (maximum 214 working days). What's great is if you don't work a full work week but still need to commute at least 128 days in a year, you'll still get the same travel allowance. Do note that as of 1 January 2022, you may receive fixed reimbursements if you commute at least 36 weeks (128 days) a year. If you go under that, then you'll have to register the days commuted with payroll, who will then calculate the allowance for you.

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