What is the job market like for English speaking foreigners

From zure haring en broodje kroket to frieten en pralines. From fietsen and Koninginnedag to schaatsen and de Gentse Feesten. Here, you can ask questions about anything related to the Dutch or Flemish culture or share your experience with others.
Post Reply
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:05 pm
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: English (New Zealand)
Gender: Female

What is the job market like for English speaking foreigners

Post by annapollock » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:03 am

A foreign friend of mine from a multicultural background was thinking of starting afresh in the Netherlands and asked me if the job market was good for English speaking foreigners. To my surprise, I was not able to give her a straightforward yes or no answer. I am not very sure actually. I myself am self employed. Throughout my 5 years experience and that of my foreign friends from Dutch school, I found out generally that:-

if one comes from a Western country, chances are markedly higher in the job market compared to those from Middle Eastern countries. Those from Asian and Eastern European countries are somewhere in the middle.

A classmate from Ukraine had a doctorate in computer science. At first she applied only for engineering jobs. After two years of trying without success, she extended her scope to waitressing, cleaning and factory work. Yet it was to no avail. She has not given up yet, this being her fourth year of applying. She speaks excellent English.

Similarly a classmate from Morocco who was a real estate agent could not find any job even cleaning, after 5 years in Holland. She has since given up. She speaks a little English.

However a classmate from Ireland who had only high school education was able to get a job immediately upon arrival as a call agent. She said as many as five recruiters phoned her at th e same time, practically offering her English speaking jobs on the spot. Another from England secured a job immediately as an English teacher in an international school, despite not being a teacher previously. Other classmates from the US and UK seemed to have no problems too.

I compared this to an Indian classmate who is a native speaker of English and an English teacher with many years experience. She tried to teach English at various schools, but all rejected her and none called her for an interview because they preferred a "native speakers" from specific countries - which some schools stated in on their job pre requirements. When she tried to be proactive and called up one of the schools, thry told her upon hearing her accent, she was never going to be called for an interview. She then applied for non-speaking English jobs, however till today and after a 100 applications, still no success. She was never called for an interview despite 100 job applications. This classmate has now called it a day. She does speak with an accent but I believe we all do. My classmate's accent is easily understood and she speaks very clearly.

I do not wish to sound negative. I am merely reciting facts. I have met many foreigners over the years and English speaking job opportunities seem to be given as a priority to those from Western countries eventhough those from other countries are able to speak English very well too.

I would like to know if anyone here has experience in English speaking job hunting?

User avatar
Global moderator
Posts: 978
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:47 pm
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Third language: German
Fourth language: French
Gender: Male
Location: Eijsden-Margraten

Re: What is the job market like for English speaking foreigners

Post by BrutallyFrank » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:48 pm

How the job market is for English speakers? I don't know! Unemployement is going down, but like you said: opportunities are quite different. You're spot on when you say that origin is a big influence. The turmoil in the world has also consequences for the Netherlands. This country is becoming less and less tolerant towards foreign people ... and that reflects on the job market as well.

Some call centers might need some native speakers (non-Dutch), but when it comes to English speakers ... I don't think that there's a big market for that. The level of English speaking is quite high in The Netherlands.
"Moenie worrie nie, alles sal reg kom" (maar hy het nie gesê wanneer nie!)


Post Reply