Multinational companies key for Dutch economy, job creation

The Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has released a new study shedding light on the role multinational corporations, both Dutch and foreign, play in the country's private sector economy.

Huge job creation by multinationals

The study reveals that in 2013, multinational companies in the Netherlands provided nearly two million jobs, or 40 per cent of jobs in the Dutch private sector.

This is an enormous contribution, considering that multinationals make up only around two per cent of all registered companies in the Netherlands.

Around half of these are Dutch companies with foreign subsidiaries, such as manufacturing corporation AkzoNobel, technology producer Philips and retailer Ahold. Such companies account for a slight majority of all job creation by multinationals.

The other half are foreign companies with subsidiaries in the Netherlands. Notable examples include discount supermarket chain Lidl, V&D department stores (which are owned by American Sun Capital) and Tata Steel.

Another reason such firms are significant for the Dutch labour market is that they tend to be among the companies willing to hire internationals in the Netherlands.

International employers may offer job resilience

However, their enormous capacity to create new positions may not be the only reason internationally-oriented companies are attractive to those seeking a job in the Netherlands. They have also proven well-able to sustain existing jobs through difficult economic times.

Last year, the CBS reported that employees of companies operating internationally were less likely than employees of domestic Dutch companies to lose their jobs in the years after the 2008 economic crisis.

Many internationally-active companies laid off workers during the early years of the crisis, but by 2011 and 2012 they were doing so much less frequently than their domestic counterparts.

Multinationals vital for private-sector growth

The CBS also examined the level of economic activity for which multinationals are accountable.

Despite being a tiny percentage of all companies, Dutch multinationals generate 25 per cent of turnover in the private sector, and foreign ones produce 40 per cent. Together, they account for nearly two-thirds of all private-sector turnover.

Foreign multinationals were responsible for half of all goods imports and exports in 2013, while those with Dutch roots accounted for around one third of each.


Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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