L.P. writes:

I studied in India and obtained my PhD in semiconductor physics in England. Afterwards I came to the Netherlands and now working for two years as a software engineer at a telecommunications company. At the last round of cuts was lifted my job. I then moved down here with my family and would like to stay in the Netherlands. I have a residence permit but not a new work permit. I have been invited several times for an interview, but was always rejected. What is the underlying reason? How should I now approach the Dutch market?

The headhunter replied:

The economic downturn has radically changed the labor market for specific groups of engineers. Until six months ago, the business had an irrepressible need for embedded software engineers. It has invested heavily in large-scale projects such as Bluetooth and WCDMA. Last spring, this changed which gradually decreased the demand for software engineers.

The investments were very large, but spent so far little. Skeptics depict Bluetooth and UMTS now unjustly as unnecessary toys. This kind of negative sounds however, make organizations  rudderless and end up in a downward spiral, with the result that there is little new staff adopted.

Employers are now more discriminating. One seeks a sheep with six legs – four is not enough. They can also afford: the supply of people is higher than in the past. Previously, you had fifteen jobs and three candidates – now it’s reversed. Employers select the engineers who best fit into the team. The socio-cultural factor plays a major role. People from another culture, especially outside the EU, thereby unfortunately always lagging behind. From my own practice, I notice that they often communicate in a different way than Western Europeans. This often lies already in the non-verbal communication. At job interviews can therefore work against you.

Also, language can be a problem. Highly educated, both Dutch and foreign, write and speak good English but often their pronunciation varies widely. Within a team requires a lot of concentration to understand each other despite the common language. Just try to delve into the Dutch language and culture. Do not underestimate this: this week a candidate was not invited to an acquaintance because he does not speak Dutch.

I also notice that foreigners are sometimes paid less than natives. This may be related to overheads must make an employer for a work permit. On the other hand, it seems that these employees often settle for a lower salary. I think that is a bad development. A number of companies here fortunately correctly and treats its foreigners alike.

I expect you as a software developer or you find a job, but it may take time and effort. Remember that an employer must also make efforts more difficult because he is with this economy can get a work permit.

Finally, I advise you to build a network among Dutch. Then you run the most likely to run into something.

Ask the headhunter: anton.van.rossum@ir-search.nl.

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