Expats moving to Utrecht in search of work will find job openings in a range of sectors provided they have the right skill set. From financial services and banking to ICT and engineering, there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement in this city.
Job market in Utrecht
Thanks to the presence of Utrecht University, one of the most established tertiary education institutions in the Netherlands, the city produces a large number of highly-qualified graduates each year. This academia and research presence has also served to attract a large number of businesses in a variety of sectors to the city and, as a result, Utrecht’s job market is strong.
Banking and financial services play a prominent role in Utrecht’s economy, while ICT companies have also seen value in setting up operations here. As Utrecht continues to build its reputation as a hub for technology, it has experienced an influx of developers which in turn has made the city a popular base for digital start-ups and game-development companies.
Health sciences are also a major employer in Utrecht with the city being home to one of the Netherlands’ largest medical research institutions.
Given the city’s central location within the Netherlands, Utrecht is a major transport hub. This has attracted large transport and engineering companies. ProRail, the governmental organisation which oversees the country’s rail network, is based in Utrecht.
Finding a job in Utrecht
Many expats relocating to Utrecht will come with a job offer in hand or on an intercompany transfer, having worked at the office of an international company back in their home country.
For those in search of employment, the internet is probably the best starting point. Job portals provide insight into the types of jobs available in Utrecht and the salary an expat could hope to get. Job agencies can also assist job seekers.
Often, one of the best ways to find a job is through networking. It's helpful to make connections with people – online or in person at a job fair, for example – working in a relevant industry who can alert expats to an opening before it is advertised publicly.
Although Utrecht’s job market is certainly growing rapidly, it still does not have the international presence that expats would find in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. So, while it may not be a formal requirement for expats to speak Dutch, it will definitely set them apart from the competition and help them get a foot in the door.
Non-EU citizens will require a work permit to take up a job offer in the Netherlands. In many cases, this involves their employer having to prove that the position has been advertised locally but wasn't filled by either a Dutch or EU citizen.
Work culture in Utrecht
The work culture in Utrecht, like elsewhere in the Netherlands, is known to be disciplined. When doing business, expats should also note that the Dutch may address colleagues in a direct tone. This is not to be blunt, but rather deliver clear communication. The office culture may also vary across institutions and whether an expat works for a local Utrecht-based company or an international one.
While hard work is valued, expats are likely to find a healthy work-life balance, enjoying their free time to relax, unwind and explore all the things to see and do in the city.
►Check out the Doing Business in the Netherlands for more information about the country's working environment
►For more on the country's economic climate, read Working in the Netherlands
"There is plenty of work, though it is difficult for an immigrant with little to no Dutch to find a job. This was a major problem for me, so I simply headed straight for the Chamber of Commerce here and started my own business." Read more in our interview with Tiffany J.
Are you an expat living in Utrecht?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Utrecht. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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