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Dutch Companies Continue to Turn the Heads of Professionals Working in The Netherlands

By Universum on 10/10/2019

Orange is the new black! – Universum’s 2019 Netherlands professional survey shows that Dutch employers are making strong gains to attract talent.

AMSTERDAM – October 10th, 2019 –  Universum, has officially released the 2019 results of their annual professional talent survey, in which over 11,500 Dutch professionals with Bachelor-, Master- or PhD degrees and an average of 6.9 years of work experience, responded. The survey reveals their aspirations, career goals, preferred industries and as well as the employers this group of talent find most attractive to work for.

Top 10 Most Attractive Employers – Business & STEM

This year’s research shows that the desire to work for Dutch employers remains strong, in fact, seven out of ten employers in the top ten for business are domestic firms. For the second year in a row, the internationally renowned Dutch beer giant, HEINEKEN, remains the most sought after employer (as is the case for students – see the students’ survey results here).

This year, HEINEKEN launched their Go Places 2.0, a new campaign driven by the real-life experiences of employees, to engage and inspire future talent. The campaign features the stories of 33 HEINEKEN employees from all over the world to showcase the brand’s entrepreneurial culture. It is a continuation of their 2016 Go Places campaign, it focuses on transforming their application process into a more personalised, engaging and creative journey.

KLM kept its second-place spot and is followed by Rijksoverheid, who took third-place from Coolblue (now in 4th ). Nike maintained its fifth-place position, while e-commerce giant,, made impressive gains by jumping from ninth to sixth-place, pushing Google into seventh-place in the process. Tesla dropped out from the top ten, while Unilever climbed two positions to take over the eighth-place spot. IKEA fell one position into ninth place, while Schiphol Group entered the top 10 for the first time as this year’s tenth most attractive employer to work for.

When looking at STEM professionals, we see a similar story: 70% of the employers in the top 10 are Dutch. An interesting development this year is that STEM professionals have a new favourite. Rijksoverheid took the throne from Tesla, who suffered a loss in attractiveness and fell two by two positions to sit in third place.

Google climbed one position and to take over the second-place spot. This year, Rijkswaterstaat gained popularity to take over fourth place, followed by TNO, who fell to fifth place, followed by non-mover Philips in sixth place. Two new entrants to the 2019 STEM top 10 include Coolblue which jumped nine spots to seventh place and HEINEKEN which climbed five positions, to sit in eighth place. These aggressive movements forced  IKEA and KLM to drop two places each, they now sit respectively in ninth and tenth place.

The Highest Climbers

Among business professionals, the insurance giant NN Group jumped 25 places  (94 to 69 ). There are many testimonials on NN’s career website showcasing the modern and open work culture which has done a great job at establishing trust among future employees. At the same time GKN Aerospace the multinational engineering company fell by 29 places (78 to 107 ).

ING Group jumped 41 positions (88 to 47)  among STEM professionals. Their career website focuses on “The ING Orange code” and highlights their “culture book” giving Dutch talent a glimpse into the work-life of ING employees. The well-known FMCG company Procter & Gamble (P&G) suffered the biggest drop with this year, falling 39 places (66 to 105).

The Most Important Career Drivers

For both business and STEM professionals, challenging work is the most important career goal, while high future salaries and supporting leaders are also highly sought after career drivers. When looking at the differences in the top career drivers between the two groups, we see that business professionals are more driven by companies who offer attractive products and promise a work-life balance. While for STEM professionals are influenced by companies who are innovative, fast-paced, and where creativity is encouraged.

When we compare students with professionals, we see that the more work experience the Dutch workforce gain, the more they value they place on supportive leaders. Another big difference is that professionals hold higher regard towards dynamic and creative environments where leaders encourage and support their development. However, high future earnings remains the third most important career goal for both professionals and students.

There is an interesting curve visible when we look at the satisfaction of employees compared to the number of employees. People who work for companies with 1000+ employees seem to have the highest satisfaction rate. And this trend only grows towards companies with 5000+ employees. The less satisfied employees are at the small-sized companies. This year’s research found that the larger the employer is, the more satisfied an employee is working for them, this also increases the likelihood that the employee will recommend them to a friend.

Please click here to see the full TOP 120 Universum Ranking and find out more about the career goals and preferences of young Dutch professionals

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About Universum:

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With over 30 years of valuable experience in the field of employer branding, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. We are uniquely positioned through our talent surveys to deliver key insights to recruiters about what future talent is looking for in a company. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted more than 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at