Expats choice between the USA and the Netherlands

Expats choice between the USA and the Netherlands

Expats choice between the USA and the Netherlands

There are more worldwide alternatives for ambitious would-be expats than ever before – but which one’s right for you?

One still-popular destination where expat professionals can earn good money whilst furthering their career prospects is the USA, but a newish arrival on the job-hunting scene may well beat out Trump’s America for many top talented professionals. Focusing on the tech sector, the Netherlands is opening its arms as wide as it can for entrepreneurial startups and refugees from Silicon Valley.

Putting aside personal likes and dislikes, the Netherlands expat scene isn’t perfect, but it is working towards a blend of career opportunities and laid-back lifestyles. One advantage is the guaranteed Dutch allocation of at least 20 days off every year, with many expat employees getting a time-out bonus of at least a further five to 10 days. In addition, the usual holidays of Christmas and Easter are two days long, but are counted as just one day each, and employers must pay eight per cent of each employee’s annual salary as a holiday allowance. Compared with the USA’s measly 10 paid days off each year, the Dutch version wins hands down.

The Netherlands also wins out on job security, as its laws mean it’s almost impossible to fire an employee due to a ramp of legal requirements and justifications which must be covered before dismissal is allowed. Reasons include poor performance, frequent absence due to illness, failing to fit in with corporate culture, totally unacceptable behaviour and similar breaches of the corporate code. As a result, finding a totally acceptable reason for sacking an expat employee is clearly too much trouble for the vast majority of Dutch companies.

For expatriates from the USA used to turning up for work in whatever semi-formal attire the boss suggests, the Dutch sense of sartorial style in business may come as a slight shock. Casual business wear for men can include khakis, pants and polo shirts, whilst female expats could even find themselves addressing meetings in jeans and t-shirts. ‘Casual Friday’ is a new development much appreciated within the expat community, as sneakers are now acceptable footwear and Friday afternoons are time out for snacks and drinks with colleagues. Informality in business translates happily into the favoured Dutch means of transportation – with bikes and bike lanes the equivalent to the USA’s limos and traffic snarl-ups.

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