Understanding the Dutch labour market and effectively negotiating your salary can be both exciting and intimidating. We know that salary negotiations in the Netherlands have distinct nuances, influenced by cultural and professional factors. To help you navigate this process with confidence, here are a 5 tips to ensure that you negotiate your salary like a pro in the Dutch market.  

Assess your value and contribution  

It can be challenging to negotiate your salary, especially when you need to determine your value proposition based on your accomplishments, skills, and educational background. Before entering a negotiation, you must be confident in what you can offer and how this is valuable to the company that wants to hire you. Many people are hesitant to apply for positions they want because they think that they don’t meet all the criteria, but you shouldn’t forget that there’s a learning curve, and a path for growth.  

Believing in your potential and committing to yourself and your prospective employer shows willpower and accountability. While hard skills can be learned, soft skills often make the difference. Stand up for yourself with confidence because no one knows your value better than you do. 

Research salary benchmarks for your industry and position 

Make sure to dig into the role you are applying as deep as you can. Understand the responsibilities, requirements, soft and hard skills. Once you have a clear overview, research market offerings for similar positions within your industry. Many companies now provide salary ranges in their job postings, by reviewing similar job ads, you can gain insight into salary expectations. Additionally, platforms such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn serve as resources for researching salary information.  

On the other hand, consider the policies and laws correspondent to the Netherlands. Employees in the Netherlands are highly protected and supported by the law, so make sure the company you are interested in complies with the market best practices.  

Conducting thorough research will give you a great advantage in front of your hiring manager, as it will not only demonstrate your interest in the position, but also show that you know what you deserve, therefore you are prepared to receive a good and fair offer. Last year, the EU adopted the Pay Transparency Directive, which means companies need to disclose salary information in the job ad.  

So, here’s a valuable tip: take advantage of this trend by casting a wide net and exploring job ads from companies that prioritize transparency. Look beyond just the job description and qualifications – pay attention to the salary information provided. It’s not just a number; it’s a reflection of a company’s values and commitment to fairness. 

Consider your cost of living 

If you are applying for a job in the Netherlands for the first time, it is important to understand the financial considerations involved, especially when assessing your salary expectations. We invite you to make good research on this matter. 

Living in the Netherlands can be expensive, especially depending on the area you choose to live in. Expenses such as rent, utilities, health insurance, commuting and other miscellaneous expenses can significantly affect your monthly budget. 

To accurately assess your future financial situation, consider using cost-of-living calculators, which can help you estimate how much of your salary you will allocate to savings, emergencies and additional expenses. By conducting thorough research into these factors, you can make informed decisions about your salary expectations and ensure financial stability in your new role. 

Ask about ‘secondary benefits’ and perks 

The Netherlands is a preferred destination for many expats looking for a new country to live and work in. Not only because of its good salaries among European countries, but also because of the great secondary benefits that many companies in the Dutch market offer to their employees. We published an article recently with some ideas for companies to implement in their overall compensation package. 

These benefits are on top of the salary serve as incentives for professional growth and development within the company. Some examples are: 

  • Company car or bike 
  • Flexible working hours 
  • Language courses  
  • Thirteenth month salary  
  • Health insurance discount  
  • Work from abroad 
  • Education budget (master’s degree or other courses) 
  • Gym and wellness discounts  
  • Office-provided lunch. 

With such a wide range of benefits available, it’s essential to be realistic and strike a balance, considering that these extras are additional to your salary. Take the time to thoroughly research and understand your options and be clear when negotiating which benefits are most important to you. 

Get ready to be direct 

As we have already mentioned several times in this article, if you want to be successful in a salary negotiation in the Netherlands, it is imperative that you have a clear, confident, and respectful conversation.  

If you want to negotiate in a Dutch environment, you must be prepared to face direct questions and answers. The Dutch are less likely to tell you what you want to hear. They are simple and straightforward people, who work based on efficiency and being practical. They don’t beat around the bush, and they expect you to be prepared and do the same.  

When negotiating your salary, be sure to find the logic and perfect fit of all the above elements, but also to respect feedback and address it assertively. Both parties are there to negotiate and the final agreement must please both. Of course, your boss won’t settle for an agreement that doesn’t suit them, so you need to do the same. Don’t let desperation or the emotion of the moment lead you to miss your goal and be as clear as possible with your expectations. 

Check our Vacancies!

Our team understands how to navigate delicate conversations such as salary negotiation by bridging cultural differences because we’ve been doing so for over 30 years as recruiters. If you are seeking job opportunities in the Netherlands, we encourage you to explore our current vacancies.