Why Should Data Professionals Move To The Netherlands?

our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 1/31/2019 10:22 AM
You might only know the Netherlands for its windmills, amazing cheese and coffee shops, but there is so much more than meets the eye. 

It might be a small country, but the Netherlands is a booming tech hub. As more and more world leading companies move their headquarters to Amsterdam, and innovative start-ups settle in, it’s the perfect time to get in on the action. Here’s why the Netherlands could be right for you. 

You’re welcome in the Netherlands 


The Netherlands is a small country and, thus, a very close community. But we’re very used to people  from abroad and so we have a very inclusive approach to them, especially when it comes to our national celebrations. Take King’s Day at the end of April, where the entire country celebrates the birthday of the King in all orange style. It’s my favourite day of the year and there is plenty to get involved with around the city. 

Another great thing about moving to the Netherlands is that it is not necessary to learn Dutch to feel included. English is spoken throughout the country, and every day I speak to many non-Dutch candidates. In fact, I think 80 percent of the candidates I have worked with weren’t born in the Netherlands, and there is a big community of expats; perfect for someone moving from abroad to settle in. 

You’ll have a great work-life balance 


If you’re looking for an awesome work-life balance, then the Netherlands is the best country in Europe. It has some of the shortest working hours on the continent, an informal culture and a huge emphasis on life outside of the office. Part-time employment is common and our flexible freelance culture sees many entrepreneurs working from their local café instead of being stuck in an office. Dutch people value home time as much as work time and, typically, both parents tend to spend a lot of time with their kids. 

Our culture is very ‘gezellig’, if you know what I mean. No? Well, Gezellig is my favourite Dutch word and, when I am back home, I use it all the time. There is no direct translation for it, but it’s the best way to describe the Dutch lifestyle. Meaning cosy friendliness (similar to hygge in Danish), gezellig is one of the loveliest things about life in Holland. From the snug tiny brown cafés and super modern bistros, to spending time at home with your loved ones - being gezellig is central to Dutch life. 

Also, let’s not forget that the Netherlands is the country with the best biking infrastructure in the world. In fact, we have more bikes than people! No matter what the weather conditions are, Dutch people cycle everywhere. 

You’ll have the chance to work for amazing companies 


Although the Netherlands did not manage to qualify for the football World Cup last year, the Dutch are clearly becoming one of the finest players in Europe’s technology industry. I have seen a lot of tech companies begin to move over, with some even relocating their headquarters, such as Booking.com and Sony. The technology-driven city that Amsterdam has become has made it a popular area for start-ups as well, with so much good tech talent making it even more attractive for companies to settle there. 

You’ll be earning good money 


The Netherlands is one of the most developed countries in the world and the Dutch government offer a great amount of support to those moving there to work. To attract highly skilled migrants, expats can apply for a 30 percent tax break scheme: an amazing benefit! The government also helps small businesses grow by offering tax breaks.

The Dutch property market is a complex one but, like any other big city, location is everything. Cities like London or Oslo are a lot more expensive to live in than Amsterdam, where there are loads of up and coming neighbourhoods. These hubs are where you’ll find tech start-ups locating their businesses and are fun, modern, and affordable places to live.

The Netherlands has quickly become the place to live and work for people in the Data & Analytics market. Amsterdam, with its amazing variety of tech companies, in particular, is booming. And, with an excess of ‘gezelligheid’, great tax breaks, and a wonderful work-life balance, it could well be the perfect place for your next step. 

Want to become part of it? We are recruiting for various Data & Analytics roles in the Netherlands. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with me to find out more. 

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Risk & reward of the leap from permanent hire to contractor

Want to implement digital change through a variety of projects? Are you more interested in coding than hanging about the water cooler? Have you got 2 – 3 years of experience in your field within the field of digital and analytics? Are you a risk taker who wants to help businesses succeed in their short-term projects? If this is you, then you may want to consider a contract role within the industry. Variety is the spice of life and in our always on, always in demand world of technology, we’re growing at astronomical pace. While some businesses are racing to transform their business models, others are ready to implement their changes, but may be missing the key personnel to do so. The skill shortage gap within the industry makes it tricky for businesses to find the right person for the right job. The reason? Oftentimes, it’s because the right permanent candidates have already been placed. What to Consider Before You Make the Move One of the benefits of making the move from permanent employee to contractor is the opportunity to increase your wages. For example, someone making £50,000 per year on a day rate basis of £200, £300, or £400 per day could potentially command closer to £100,000 per year. However, there is risk in this kind of reward. It’s important before accepting a contract role to understand the risk. This type of role is project based and can last anywhere from two to six months – sometimes less, possibly more. This short term offers slightly less financial security than a more traditional role, but with the rise of the freelance economy, many who walk this path understand its important to be financially stable before making the move. Urgent projects create even more instability, but with the difficulty of finding permanent talent, day rates may increase. In other words, before you hand in your notice, be sure you’ve budgeted properly and are financially stable to take on a contractor role. But, if you’re an expert in your field, perhaps a Head of Digital Analytics, the reward of making the move from permanent placement to contract role is the opportunity to focus on what you’re doing. As a contractor, you can get back in the trenches, help guide and grow teams, and be on the cutting edge of business transformation utilizing their digital implementation road map. Be the driving force for change and avoid getting bogged down in such day-to-day rituals as office politics. Boost Your Digital Analytics CV with These Tips Want to boost your CV to the top of the pile? Follow these tips: Be specific when you reference digital analytics and/or digital implementation as a specialisation. Be able to marry web analytics tool set with R, Python, SQL, etc. Include any specialized training certificates such as Adobe Analytics Certificate. If you’re a Web Analyst familiar with Snowplow Analytics, it’s an added bonus and can boost your chances even further. For Web Analytics contract roles, Adobe Analytics and Snowplow Analytics are in particularly high demand. More and more businesses interested in doing an Adobe Analytics Implementation project often find a skills gap in this area. However, though Adobe has been around longer and is more well known, a disruptor in the industry is Snowplow Analytics which is more personalised. Your Turn Contract roles offer bite size glimpses into the digital transformations of business and the skillsets they need to implement those changes. In our Your Turn section, we want to hear from you. What projects have you worked on you found to be difficult or tricky? What might make you move from permanent to contract role? And if you’ve made the switch, what most interested you to make the move? With a shortage in the market for digital implementation specialists, what route have you followed? And if you’re interested in making the move, what draws you most toward it? We’re currently looking for implementation specialists in the travel and online gaming sectors. For more opportunities, check out our current vacancies or contact Elizabeth Stone, Recruitment Consultant with a focus on Contract Roles at +44 20 8408 6070 or email elizabethstone@harnham.com to learn more.

A Q&A With Dyson’s Data Governance CDO

Mridul Mathur is a skilled Senior Program Director with more than 15 years of experience working in businesses from Deutschebak to Dyson. He has a proven track record of successfully delivering large and complex cross-functional programs and building high performing teams from scratch. In last five years the main focus of his work has been in the area of Data Management to address the issues and challenges organisations have faced in the wake of various new regulations. Data Management and Data Governance are hot topics at the moment. Do you feel that attitudes have changed towards the fields since the beginning of your career? It’s been a very big shift. Going back to my involvement at Deutsche Bank around 2007, we were managing Data purely because we needed to create a Credit Risk position so that we could explain to the Bank of England and other regulators what we were doing. We didn’t really look beyond that.  But now, if you look at the industry, we want to use Data to not only calculate our Risk position but to derive value out of that Data.  It's something that can give a company a competitive advantage  one of those things that can significantly change a business. I personally feel that the turning point, not just for Deutsche Bank but for everybody was the market crash that happened in 2008.  A lot of the company did not have Data Management skills, or the ability to bring the Data together to understand exposures. Those who had exposure against Lehman, for example, could not recover any of the money they lost. That was the big turning point for all of them, when they actually lost hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of revenue and loans overnight. They didn’t have the right Data, in the right place, and it cost them. What major issues do you see successful Data Governance facing over the next 12 months? I think we're still going through a phase of understanding and internalizing the issue. By that I mean that we understand that our Data is important and how it can help us not only manage Risk but create value. But, when it comes to actually applying it, we are hamstrung by two things:  One is that we haven't quite grasped the ways in which we can internalise that Data. We understand the value but the actual application is not really out there currently. Secondly, I think that in some places, we have too much activity. I've been in places where there have been competing Data agendas and competing Data Governance ideas. When people are not taking their organisational view and just looking to get ahead, it’s hard to achieve any real success.  If you were advising a company about to commence on a large Data Management transformation project, what advice would you give them? This links to the previous point really, and it’s a bigger issue in large companies. You need to have a business approach to Data Governance, as well as the IP capabilities to deal with a project of that scale. And what you find sometimes is that multiple groups get together and they each have a different view of what good looks like. They end up not communicating throughout the organisation and properly aligning everybody’s roles and responsibilities. These different agendas then end up causing issues because everyone has a different idea of what they want.  We need to be able to plan across the organization to get the right agenda and get the right properties in place. Then you can start the work, as opposed to each team just working where they think the biggest problem lies first.  What would you say are the biggest threats to a successful Data Management program? Obviously the above is one, but it leads to another which is really the lack of Senior Management sponsorship. If you don’t get the right level of sponsorship, then you don’t get the mandate to do what you need. This can cause huge delays and is definitely one of the biggest threats to your program being a success.  In finance, you worked within a highly regulated industry. How have your approaches changed now that you’re in a highly innovative, tech-driven environment? The approach is different. We do have challenges that others don't, but over and above, because we innovate and create things, there is an abundance of new information. Information protection and intellectual property protection is therefore at the top of the agenda. That drives the need for effective Data Governance and it really has to be at the forefront of the approach.  Data breaches have caused widespread reputational damage to companies such as Facebook and Yahoo. Have you found that companies now view Data protection as central to their commercial performance? Absolutely. People realize that they not only need Data to do their business, but they also need to protect that Data. These breaches have resulted in a greater importance being given to this function and every year I see it moving closer to the center of the organisation. There are very few large organisations left that haven’t recognized Data Protection as one of their formal functions. A lot of companies are now looking to build out their Data Protection teams from the ground up, starting with lower levels of analysts, but also management as well. It’s becoming a much greater priority and these big breaches are one of the driving factors.  What do you feel will be the most effective technical advancement within Data Management in 2019? I think, from a technological perspective, we still have some way to go with digital rights management. There’s now one or two solutions that are supposed to be at Enterprise level, but they’re not enough and they’re still not joining the digital rights management side of things with the Big Data Loss Prevention side.  So companies are having to rely on seeing this together with a combination of plugin software and various tools and technology. It’s sticking around the edges of the edges of a fix, but it’s not actually doing the job. I'd like to see these technologies develop because I think we're crying for some help in this area.  What is the biggest risk to their Data that businesses should be aware of? Not knowing where to get hold of Data. It is just mind boggling to me, that there has not been a single company that I have been a part of where we started a program and we knew where to get all our Data from. Obviously we knew where most of it was,  but we didn’t know where else it was and that what we were looking at was a comprehensive set of maps. It just continues to be the same at every business I have worked at.   What role does data governance have to play in protecting a business’ intellectual property? It plays a huge role. Firstly, a company needs to be very clear on their Data policies. This means regularly training teams on the importance of this, much like you would with health and safety. By clearly defining and educating people on the dos and don’ts of data handling you can better protect your intellectual property. I think getting the policy framework right and implementing it using digital rights management is crucial and good Data Governance relies on this.  When hiring for your teams, which traits or skills do you look for in candidates? There are two key parts; one is technical and the other non-technical. In my mind, it’s less about the technical because, ultimately, I just want someone who knows how to use ‘technology x’. They need to be able to make use of Data from a database, or be able to spot Data in an unstructured environment. But, for me, the most important skill is more of a characteristic: tenacity. I use the word tenacity because you have to put yourself out there. You have to ask people questions and you have to educate them. You can’t assume that people just understand Data you’re presenting them and you have to become their friends and learn to speak their language. It also really brings in the skill of being able to work with teams and across teams. Being a team player would absolutely be top of my list. Mridul spoke to Femi Akintoye, a Recruitment Consultant in our Data & Technology function. Take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with Femi.

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