How can I negotiate my salary in the Netherlands?

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Many of my clients often ask me “How can I negotiate my salary in the Netherlands?” It’s a common concern to worry about asking for too much or too little. Negotiating your salary effectively is a necessary step to get paid what you deserve.

Companies typically have established salary ranges for different positions, but some individuals are able to negotiate a higher salary, while others may accept a lower amount. However, the salary received is not always a reflection of the candidate’s qualifications. So, what factors play a role in determining salary ranges? The keys to success are preparation, self-confidence, and having a strong nerve.


1. Preparation is Key

Proper preparation is a vital aspect of salary negotiation, and it is advisable to start early. You may not expect the question about your salary expectations to come up in the first interview, but it is a common occurrence, especially when screened by recruiters.

Know the Salary Range

Being knowledgeable about the salary range for a specific role in your industry is essential. Glassdoor is a reliable source to check the salary ranges disclosed by various companies.

Gross vs Net Salary

It’s crucial to understand the distinction between gross and net salary in the Netherlands. You will typically negotiate your gross salary (before Dutch taxes), and keep in mind that the 8% holiday pay, which is in addition to your gross annual salary, is considered a type of 13th-month payment. When discussing your salary, ensure that you and your employer are clear about the terms being used.

Other Benefits to Consider

Aside from base salary, there may be other factors to consider when evaluating an employment offer, particularly if the company is a large one. Some of these additional perks could include:

  • Bonuses
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Training funds
  • Company car or public transportation reimbursement
  • Retirement plans
  • Flexible/telecommuting options
  • Gym memberships


2. Boosting Confidence

Confidence is key to securing a fair salary. Candidates who are aware of their worth and what they bring to the table tend to be more successful in salary negotiations. Here’s how to increase your confidence:

  • Know Your Value: I often recommend my clients to clearly outline their achievements and provide supporting stories or details. This not only helps with interview preparation, but also boosts confidence. Ask yourself: what makes you unique and valuable to the company? The clearer you are about your strengths, the easier it will be to communicate them to your potential employer.
  • Maintaining Balance: Negotiating a salary can be a delicate balance between confidence and arrogance. It’s important to avoid coming across as overly modest, but also not to be too pushy. Keep a list of your specific achievements and let them do the talking for you.
  • Anchor High: The anchoring technique involves proposing a salary at the higher end of the range. This strategy allows you to be flexible and lower your initial request, but not raise it.
  • Positive Language: When discussing salary, it’s important to appear confident, calm, and positive. This means paying attention to your body language, tone, and language. Avoid using words like “maybe,” “if,” “sorry,” and “just.” Practicing with a friend or partner can help build confidence.
  • Emphasizing Benefits to the Organization: When negotiating your salary, make sure to highlight the benefits the company will receive by hiring you.


“3. Strong nerves are key

Accepting a lower offer is also not a good idea psychologically, as desperation is unattractive. In the end, the employer may choose a candidate who asks for more, as they believe this person will be a better performer, knowing their own worth. It’s important to remember that when managing their budgets, most hiring managers are looking for the best candidate for the job, not just the cheapest.

Don’t be afraid to push back

What if you state your salary expectations and the offer you receive is far below what you expected? Many people may feel an urge to accept immediately. But it’s important to keep in mind that the first offer from a company is not always the final one. In the Netherlands, salary negotiations are a common occurrence, so don’t be afraid to push back. The fact that the company made an offer means they are willing to invest in you.

Do you find negotiating your salary easy or difficult? Share in the comments below what has helped you secure the salary you wanted.”

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