Time to go for that job
The job market in Holland continues to hot up for job-hunting expats, both for experienced candidates and those kick-starting their career.
Today, the employment market is very much a ‘candidates market’. Candidates with the right languages, skills and experience will find ample opportunities to use their talents. Even those who have little experience will find employment opportunities to launch them on their way to a successful career. For instance, most of our clients at Blue Lynx are looking for candidates who have the correct languages and the motivation to do well in a position and grow within a company.
Love you or leave you
Retaining good staff members is a major problem at the moment, with all the opportunities out there, candidates are developing the habit of job-hopping, building up different types of experience, more responsibility and most importantly landing a better financial package every time.
Salaries are looking healthier now than over the past five years and there is nearly always room for negotiation. Currently, the strong areas of employment are in customer services, finance, sales and marketing.
The packages on offer outside The Netherlands are also becoming more attractive and Dutch companies here are beginning to understand that they need to offer better all-round financial package in to hang onto their top people.
Why use a recruitment agency?
Many international clients have taken recruitment into their own hands through advertising directly on large international job sites, which brings the job straight to the candidate and makes the whole process cheaper overall for the company.
However, this tendency hasn’t affected our business at Blue Lynx so far, as candidates still prefer to be represented by an agency; leaving the ‘sticky’ negotiation process to consultants who know what they are doing. We always make sure we negotiate the best possible package for the candidate while still considering what the client can afford.
For any international candidates with an open mind, language skills and the motivation to find employment, The Netherlands ‘is your oyster’. However, although jobs are plentiful, job-seekers still need help in selecting the right post as well as knowing their own market value.
The tricky path at the top
Finding the right post for the more experienced, older, more educated and more expensive candidates remains a tricky business.
With such a healthy employment market it is still difficult to find and secure ‘higher end’ employment positions because the Netherlands offers less Executive Recruitment Services than other European cities, such as London and Dublin. Therefore executives in Holland need to rely on feedback to see where they can position themselves in the European job market. The more networking a candidate does, the more people he/she will meet, which in turn will increase the likelihood of doors and opportunities opening.
As the Netherlands still boasts a fairly active ‘old school network’, what often counts is not ‘what’ you know but ‘who’ you know. Whether this is correct or not is debatable, however it helps to remember that The Netherlands is a small country, and reputation goes before you.
Encouragingly more Executive Services are being offered and this is improving the match between client and candidates.
Non-specialist agencies tend to stay away from executive recruitment just because it is difficult to find the right candidates, manage their expectations and negotiate a package which is better than the one they already have. The stakes can be high, and many an inexperienced recruiter has burned their fingers in the process.
Experienced with offering this kind of service to its candidates and clients, Blue Lynx has had an executive recruitment service running successfully for several years and, noting the influx of candidates in 2007 as the job market warmed up, recruited several more consultants specializing in executive search.
Wanted: Experienced candidates with strong language skills
Older job-seekers with strong language skills especially can be optimistic. A few years ago it was difficult to place these candidates, companies saw them as too expensive or a risk, but now - with the European Union alive and kicking and borders opening up - clients seem to be changing their minds. If they have the language skills and the experience, then age doesn’t seem to matter as much as it did - although legally it should never have been an issue.
True, older candidates cost more, but companies are beginning to realize that they need to pay to have good staff member on board. Organisations are not only making sure that the financial package is a strong one; they are offering more flexibility such as a four–day week or home-working possibilities.
The message for job-seekers in Holland is clear; the opportunities are there, you just need to know where to look or who to talk too in order to find that career you’ve been searching for.
7 September 2007
Joanne Thomas works with The Blue Lynx Group (www.bluelynx.com), The European Specialists in Recruitment, Executive Search, Contracting & Project Services.
[Copyright Expatica 2007]