Dutch workforce is considered the most adaptable

Dutch employees are the most likely to embrace change and learn new skills, according to a new global survey on the talent adaptability of workers from 11 major economies.

The study scored 11 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom) on each nations’ ability to match talent with opportunity and the movement of people between industries.

The Netherlands was given a score of 85 out of 100, well ahead of runners up the United Kingdom (67) and Canada (61).

The study, undertaken by international consultancy PwC and commissioned by professional social network LinkedIn, examined both real-time behaviours drawn from LinkedIn’s members and employer information from PwC’s database of people and performance metrics.

Adaptability in the workforce

In this survey, "adaptability" is measured on the one hand as the ability of employers to invest in their employees, to furnish them with the necessary skills and encourage them to change to meet new challenges, and on the other, the willingness of employees to embrace change and apply their skills to new areas.

The scores were given by assessing the rate at which people switch between roles and sectors, the rate at which they’re promoted and the number of jobs left open in a market. The higher the levels employees had of switching between roles, companies and industries, both from promotion and if they find a new job, the higher their level of adaptability.

PwC says that companies operating in markets with highly adaptable talent can attract and retain people more effectively, shown by a higher first-time acceptance rate of candidates and a lower short-term resignation rate.

Talent adaptability in the Netherlands

The report highlighted several factors that form the basis of the Dutch workforce’s high level of adaptability. Despite the small size of the Dutch market resulting in fewer places to move within it, it says the Netherlands’ working environment and entrepreneurial nature is an advantage.

It also highlights the country’s multilingual and largely English-speaking population and its moderate levels of sector diversity and positive (although modest) net migration.

In the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area alone, 80 per cent of the workforce speak English, while 90 per cent are bi- or often trilingual.

Online professional networks

The report claims, however, that the most significant reason for the Netherlands high score is how it has embraced social media, "far more quickly and wholeheartedly than any country outside the US."

Notably, the Netherlands has one of the highest uses of LinkedIn in the world, with almost half the working population having a professional online presence.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a survey commissioned by LinkedIn, PwC found a strong correlation between the use of online professional networks in a particular country and its adaptability ranking.

The report argues that for an adaptable market to function efficiently it requires first visibility and then engagement between all participants in "a marriage of flexible talent with opportunity."

It says that 90 per cent of Human Resource Departments PwC have surveyed said that they are using social recruitment tools and 85 per cent said that these tools have changed the way they engage with prospective candidates.

Talent adaptability by country

1. Netherlands 85
2. United Kingdom 67
3. Canada 61
4. Singapore 57
5. United States 57
6. Australia 52
7. France 41
8. Germany 39
9. Brazil 36
10. India 34
11. China 23


For more, read the full report.

Sources: PwC, Municipality of Amsterdam


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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