Gen Y and the world of work

A report into the workplace needs, attitudes and aspirations of Gen Y Netherlands

For such a relatively small nation, the Netherlands punches well above its weight. With a population of 16.7 million and a land mass of just 33,730 sq. km (about twice the size of the state of New Jersey

in the US), it may come as some surprise to know that the Netherlands possesses the eighth most competitive economy in the world according to the World Economic Forum. Impressively, the country also ranks fourth in the United Nation’s Human Development Index, and fourth in the World Happiness Report issued by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The glowing reputation of the Netherlands doesn’t end there. The country also boasts a very favourable employment environment, being one of the best places among developed nations for work-life balance and with an average household disposable income of US$29,697 (way above the OECD average of US$23,938).

These prosperous conditions have their roots in a long history of pro table Dutch business. Beginning with the prosperity generated by international merchant trading (most notably through the Dutch East India Company) in the seventeenth century, a Dutch a nity with trade and business continues today. The Netherlands is home to some of the world’s most ubiquitous businesses and brands such as Unilever, Philips and Heineken. Alongside these established companies, many organisations are springing up. The Dutch government is seeking to improve the nation’s start-up ecosystem in recognition of the fact that these new businesses account for a large part of job growth in the Netherlands.

With this background, Gen Y Netherlands have developed unique expectations of their life and work. Many of them have had to begin employment in less desirable jobs, making them hungry for enjoyable, interesting and challenging work. They also display some very typical Dutch cultural preferences, such as an appreciation for sociability, which is re ected in their desire for a fun working environment and a social life around work. But work is not just about socialising for Gen Y Netherlands: this group show strong signs of initiative and self improvement, making them keen to follow in the footsteps of the accomplished Dutch businesspeople that have gone before them.

Our report which follows is based on the answers given by 1,000 respondents from Gen Y Netherlands. We asked them questions around several key areas of employment. They were asked about their attitudes to issues surrounding their work and careers. We wanted to know what attracts them to a potential employer and what makes them stay in a job. We asked what they look for in an ideal boss and what they regard as markers of success in their careers. We explored their attitudes to changing jobs and starting their own businesses. We also asked about their use of social media that is transforming the way people throughout the world communicate both at work and in their leisure time.

Reading this report will give you a detailed picture of Gen Y Netherlands: what they are looking for in a job, how to motivate them and what they can bring to your business. We’ve also looked beneath the survey results and offer practical insight and support to the HR community, line managers and business leaders as they seek to engage and motivate this segment of the workforce.

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