While companies such as Philips, Shell, KLM and Heineken are popular with foreign workers, there is a danger the Netherlands could lose out if too many Dutch companies are chopped up under pressure from activist shareholders.
The warning comes in a new survey by research company Intelligence Group, based on interviews with 21,000 people in nine European countries.
The survey shows that 18% of Europeans would like to work in the Netherlands, making it the 10th most popular destination. Top of the list are the US (35%), UK (34%) and France (30%).
As well as career prospects, international experience and high salaries, ‘expats in the Netherlands specifically want a trustworthy and reliable employer,’ said Intelligence Group’s Yumi Stamet. ‘They want to be in the middle of a cultural melting pot and in that sense Amsterdam is a magnet.’
However Stamet warned that with listed companies under increasing pressure from hedge funds to split up, there is a risk the Netherlands will no longer be as attractive to young and ambitious international staff.
Retailer Ahold, engineering concern Stork and now ABN Amro bank have all come under attack from activist hedge funds.
Dutch multinationals looking to recruit staff abroad also face obstacles, the survey showed, with language barriers and immigration rules the most problematic. Employers’ organisations have repeatedly urged the Dutch government to make it easier to bring in high-skilled staff, particularly IT workers and technicians.
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