🦜 PerchPulse - The Netherlands Market Update August 2023 🦜

A warm welcome to the August issue of PerchPeek’s Netherlands Market Monthly update!

Here’s where you’ll find the hottest updates around employee relocation and international talent strategy, insights from our experts on housing and cost-of-living news affecting your staff, the latest trends in global mobility, and tips and tricks on ways to support your teams.

A fly-by summary

●      A record 403,000 people migrated to the Netherlands in 2022, up 60% on the previous year, and data suggests the labour crisis may be improving - insights for People leaders

●      Rental prices in the Netherlands are up by 5%-8% vs. last year, and the country is short of 390,000 homes - latest market stats and guidance to help support relocating staff

●      Inflation is slowing and food prices are finally starting to fall, but the Netherlands has the second most expensive public transport in the world - latest stats on living costs

●      Summertime home-hunting tips, Friday evening drinks culture, and PerchPeek’s pick of the best festivals this August - top settling-in advice to share with relocating staff!

Talent strategy: The Netherlands saw record high immigration in 2022, up 60% vs. 2021 - what this means for global mobility strategy

The Netherlands saw a record increase in the number of people migrating to the country in 2022, as shown by the latest data released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). So what does this mean for the country’s workforce, considering the skills shortage observed in recent months?

Here’s PerchPeek’s summary of the key figures, providing useful insights for GM leaders:

Overall immigration figures

●      In 2022, 403,000 people migrated to the Netherlands, according to CBS

●      This is a 60% increase on 2021’s figure of 252,000, and 50% up on 2019 (pre-pandemic)

●      129,000 (32%) of the total immigrants in 2022 came from the EU or EEA

●      Another 110,000 (27%) were refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine

Work permit holder figures

●      Of the non-EU citizens who relocated to the Netherlands in 2022, 29,000 made the move for a job, 39,500 for their family, and 21,000 to attend university

●      26,100 people moved to the Netherlands under a highly skilled migrant work permit

●      The majority of these people were Indian nationals, and there were also relatively high volumes of people with Turkish, Russian or South African citizenship

Is the Netherlands still experiencing a labour shortage?

In 2022 the country saw a record 1.6 million new job vacancies, the highest figure since tracking began in 1997, as the country was in the midst of a labour crisis across various sectors.

The Netherlands may however be seeing a turning point as of summer 2023; Dutch recruitment agency Randstad reports that it has seen a fall in demand for new staff for two consecutive quarters, suggesting that this labour crisis may be starting to come to an end.

The Dutch benefits agency UWV reports however that while the extremely hot labour market cooled down slightly in the first quarter of 2023, it’s still "particularly tight" and there remain large staff shortages in most regions and professions.

PerchPeek’s advice to People teams

Given that the skills shortage in the Netherlands is cooling but far from resolved, it’s refreshing to see that the local talent pool is widening thanks to the increasing number of people choosing to migrate. However, in order to effect real change within organisations and meet business goals quickly, it’s necessary for companies to look abroad and relocate talent in order to fill skills gaps.

In order to remain competitive within your industry and to attract the best talent for your open roles, it’s important to offer a comprehensive relocation policy - it’ll be attractive to prospective candidates and will ensure a smoother process, helping them hit the ground running!

Home-finding: Rental price increase of up to 8% YoY, and the country is short of 390,000 homes - latest market stats for People leaders

It’s summertime and so it’s busier than ever in the Dutch rental market, as workers and students alike spread their wings and relocate at this time - and pricing trends are reflecting the surge in demand, vs. dwindling supply. To help GM leaders stay on top of this ever-changing landscape and to support relocating employees, here’s PerchPeek’s rundown of the latest figures.

Key stats at a glance (source: rental housing platform Pararius)

●      Rental prices rose by an average of 5% to 8% YoY in the major cities in Q2 2023

●      Pararius attributes this rise to the fall in housing supply, vs. demand (more details below)

●      Amsterdam saw the largest price increases, on average up 7.6% YoY

●      The smallest increases were in Utrecht (up 5.1%) and Eindhoven (up 5.8%)

Minimum rental costs - Q3 2023 (source: PerchPeek):

For rental cost data for other Dutch regions, give PerchPeek a shout here!

In the news

●      According to Pararius, the number of rental properties on offer has fallen dramatically. Of the total available properties in Q2 2023, just 39% were located in the five biggest cities - vs. 55% in the same period in 2021.

●      New figures shared by ABF Research show that the shortfall of homes in the Netherlands is increasing, as the pace of construction slows. Currently the country is short of 390,000 homes, compared to last year’s (already substantial) figure of 315,000.

PerchPeek insights

Conditions in the Dutch rental market have been very difficult for some time, and this data on rising prices and the increasing shortfall of properties indicate that the situation won’t improve any time soon; in fact, reports suggest that the housing shortage may not ease until 2028.

Home-hunting staff in the Netherlands are faced with a real challenge at the moment. To support them best, ensure that relocation packages are sufficient for at least a couple of months in temporary housing, and to be flexible to allow staff to attend viewings at a moment’s notice!

Cost of living: Food prices finally falling, but Netherlands has second most expensive public transport in the world - newest data on living costs

As HR and global mobility professionals, staying informed about the latest cost of living trends is crucial for effectively supporting relocating employees in the Netherlands. Here we dive into the most recent data on fluctuating living costs to help you manage employee expectations!

Inflation rate and grocery prices

●      The consumer inflation rate in the Netherlands fell from 5.7% in June to 4.6% in July

●      This rate peaked in September 2022 at 14.5%, the highest in almost 50 years

●      Looking at food inflation alone, this also fell month-on-month, from 12.6% to 11.6%

●      Prices of butter and milk at four major supermarkets have fallen by 15% since January

Public transport

●      According to a recent Compare the Market study, the Netherlands has the second most expensive public transport in the world, coming in behind Switzerland

●      This finding came from a study of 407 cities in 99 countries across the globe, using consumer data from the international cost of living database Numbeo

●      It’s also been claimed, thanks to a study by Greenpeace, that train travel in the Netherlands is 50% more expensive than flying, due to high train fares as well as the low-cost marketing tactics exercised by budget airlines

Plus, it’s worth noting that in the latest Cost of Living City Ranking from consultancy firm Mercer, Amsterdam and the Hague landed in the top 50 most expensive cities in the world, at no. 28 and no. 46 respectively. Within Europe only, they were ranked 8th and 15th.

How to support relocating employees

By staying in the know on cost of living trends, global mobility leaders will find it easier to proactively tailor relocation packages, offer informed financial guidance, and ensure a smooth transition for employees, improving their experience and productivity in their new Dutch city.

Three ways to help relocating employees adjust to the cost of living in the Netherlands:

●      Financial guidance: Offer personalised advice to help employees manage the high cost of living in the Netherlands, and direct them to helpful resources

●      Cost-saving initiatives: Provide access to discounts and special arrangements for housing, transportation, and necessities for relocating employees

●      Lifestyle workshops: Hold sessions to help relocating employees adapt to the local lifestyle and make informed choices for financial well-being

Support your talent: PerchPeek’s summertime home-hunting tips and August festival inspiration to share with relocating employees!

It’s high season in the world of employee relocation, with high numbers of workers and students alike making a move to the Netherlands right now. To help your teams make the most of their summer and get settled in before September rolls around, here are PerchPeek’s hottest summer tips to share with Netherlands newcomers, straight from our resident local experts!

Top summer tips for home-seekers

●      The Dutch Grand Prix is taking place over the last weekend of August (25th-27th) at Circuit Zandvoort, 40 minutes outside Amsterdam. Accommodation in the capital is likely to be practically fully booked, so relocating employees should avoid arriving at this time.

●      Although it’s an incredibly busy time in the rental market, relocating staff are less likely to hear back from agents on Wednesday and Friday afternoons - especially those with children - as people tend to take this time off, so enquiries should be timed accordingly!

End-of-the-week drinks

Speaking of taking Friday afternoons off - or finishing early, at least - employees may like to know about the Dutch summertime culture of enjoying a drink on a terrace with colleagues to shake off the week. It’s known as ‘vrijmibo’ - a shortened version of vrijdagmiddagborrel, a mashup of Friday (vrijdag) afternoon (middag) drinks event (borrel), which we absolutely love!

This is an ideal way for newcomers to get to know their co-workers and build connections. It might be an idea to organise dedicated summer social events for new cohorts of staff!

Festival vibes

One super fun way for relocating employees to get immersed into the local culture, make new connections and throw off the stresses of relocation is to hit up a festival! And new arrivals to the Netherlands are in luck, as there’s one on most weekends this summer. Here are our top picks:

●      Dekmantel Festival, 3rd - 7th August, Amsterdam (Amsterdamse Bos)

●      Loveland, 12th - 13th August, Amsterdam

●      Lowlands Festival, 18th - 20th August, Biddinghuizen

●      Decibel Outdoor Festival, 18th - 20th August, Hilvarenbeek

●      Mysteryland, 25th - 27th August, Haarlemmermeer

Amsterdam Gay Pride is also taking place on the weekend of Friday 4th - Sunday 6th August. There’ll be 300+ events, street parties galore, the Drag Queen Olympics, and the famous Canal Parade on Saturday 5th, running from Oosterdok to Westerdok throughout the afternoon.

We hope you enjoyed this month’s update!

If you have any feedback, comments or questions about what's happening in your location, feel free to reach out via the form at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for reading, and see you next month!


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