What makes high tech internationals tick?

Nieuws | de redactie
10 oktober 2012 | The problem of ageing has made the international ‘war on talent’ more acute. Dutch high tech employers have recently mapped their competition: why do knowledge workers opt for The Netherlands and, more importantly, why do they not?

The Dutch population is ageing. The baby boom generation isageing and will retire soon, resulting in a huge hole in the jobmarket. This development is particularly noticeable in the hightech systems industries, a sector which has steadily grown over thepast decades. Not only are many technicians retiring, the inflow ofnew graduates is also decreasing. At an event on mobility andpreferences of international knowledge workers, the Dutchemployers’ association FME maps its competition.

Find out their motives

“In order to attract international knowledge workers, you shouldknow what your unique selling points and your weaknesses are”, Josvan Erp (FME Representative High Tech Systems Platform) says. “Also you should know more about the characteristics andmotives of international knowledge workers to be able to respond tospecific needs.” FME explored the link between the characteristicsof knowledge workers and their motives to come to the Netherlandsand their opinion about their new living and workingenvironment.

According to the report, Dutch strengths are: a strong knowledgeinfrastructure and a good reputation of companies and researchinstitutes. Respondents value the language skills of the Dutch andthe possibilities of developing a career next to the high standardof living.  Jos van Erp: “Active branding of these qualitiesshould therefore get priority. Dutch migration policy should bechanged to accommodate the influx of international knowledgeworkers, procedures for IKW’s should be made easier A thirdchallenge is the fact that the Netherlands has the image of beingboring. Again, here branding could provide help.”

In the battle for foreign high tech talent, thefollowing regions are the main competitors for theNetherlands:

  • London
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Southern and eastern Ireland
  • Bavaria
  • Île-de-France
  • Copenhagen
  • Rhône-Alpes
  • Lombardia
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Frankfurt
  • Cataluña 

The most – and least – important motives for moving an living inthe Netherlands are the following:

Top 5 most important factors                      Top 5 leastimportant factors

  1. English speaking
  2. Openness towards foreigners
  3. Career opportunities
  4. Healthcare
  5. Vibrant atmospere


  1. Other expats
  2. Active communities
  3. Support by government
  4. Support by employer
  5. Job security

 Top 5 best rated factors                                Top 5 worst ratedfactors

  1. English speaking
  2. Reputation education/research
  3. Reputation companies
  4. Career opportunities
  5. Employment regulations


  1. Housing
  2. Healthcare
  3. Support by government
  4. Vibrant atmospere
  5. Active communities

Jos van Erp thinks that the Dutch high tech industries shouldpromote the fact that a Dutch environment is a multi-lingualenvironment and that foreign knowledge workers experience manycareer opportunities. “Conversely, Dutch companies should repairthe negative image of little openness towards foreigners andproblems with healthcare”, Van Erp states.

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