Dutch employee satisfaction fourth highest in Europe

While across Europe the average rate of employee satisfaction is just over half more than 80 per cent of Dutch people say they find the working conditions in the country to be good.

That’s the fourth highest rate in Europe, after Denmark, Luxembourg and Finland, according to a new survey by Eurobarometer, the European Commission’s statistics office.

When asked whether they were satisfied with their personal working conditions, 87 per cent of Dutch people said that they were. While that amount is higher than their opinion of overall conditions, it is behind the Danes, 95 per cent of whom expressed satisfaction.

Nevertheless, the survey is in line with previous studies that have found Dutch workers to be among the happiest in the world.

Employee satisfaction in the Netherlands

In examining elements of working conditions in the Netherlands, the Dutch expressed very high rates of satisfaction with their level of autonomy at work (95 per cent), their working hours (91 per cent), work life balance (88 per cent) and workplace health and safety (92 per cent).

Employees in the Netherlands are also more likely than most EU nations to have flexible working options, also that they either have used or would use them. They also commonly work in companies that have measures in place for people who are returning to work from long term sickness absence.

It is also far more common for Dutch employees to be informed about the situation of their company or organisation regarding its financial situation and its future, including possible restructuring, and they are the most likely to be consulted about changes in the organisation of their work and/or working conditions.

In one negative result, however, workers in the Netherlands had the highest rate (21 per cent) of being exposed to violence or harassment in the workplace.

Typical workers in the Netherlands

The Netherlands had the lowest rates of people who described themselves as not working: 38 per cent, compared to the highest rate of 61 per cent in Croatia.

Over half of all Dutch respondents described themselves as employed, the highest rate in the EU, with only 7 per cent were self-employed and an even smaller 1 per cent, the lowest level in the EU, were manual workers.

At least half of all workers in the Netherlands work for a company with more than 250 employees, with only 5 per cent employed by companies with less than 10 employees.

While across the EU at least half of employees work full time, in the Netherlands that was only just true, as 48 per cent of respondents said they worked part time. Also, the Netherlands has one of the highest proportions on people on temporary employment agency contracts (5 per cent).

The survey’s socio-demographic analysis highlighted the fact that overall women are more likely to work part time (35 per cent vs. 13 per cent of men).

Part time work can contribute to relatively low pensions, which means that the average pension payment to women in the Netherlands is about half what is paid to men, a "pension gap" that is among the largest in the OECD, according to a 2012 report.

Top 10 EU countries for employee satisfaction

1. Denmark 87%
2. Luxembourg 85%
3. Finland 84%
4. Netherlands 82%
5. Ireland 80%
6. United Kingdom 78%
7. Sweden 77%
8. Belgium 76%
9. Austria 75%
10. Germany 71%
Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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