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© Sculpture: Jos Dirix
© Sculpture: Jos Dirix

Our (interim) treasury labour market is extremely international

Pieter de Kiewit 20-08-2021 2:48 PM
Categories: About Us, Labour Market

Just before starting my vacation I created a small overview of the recent successes of Team Treasurer Search. Next to the fact that we see the speed of placements picking up, I think it is striking how international our treasury labour market is. This is not only for permanent positions, but also for interim management.

I compiled a small list with data about our most recent completed projects. Of course these are not sound statistics but it paints a picture. Four out of ten were interim projects, eight out of ten were Netherlands-based. The last fact is of course no surprise, us being a Dutch recruitment agency.

Candidate Contact person 1 Contact person 2 Headquarter Treasury Centre
Dutch Dutch Dutch Netherlands Netherlands
British Dutch Dutch Netherlands Netherlands
Italian Dutch Dutch Netherlands Netherlands
Czech US French USA Luxembourg
Dutch Turkish Dutch Switzerland Netherlands
Sri Lankan Italian Dutch Italy Netherlands
Belgian Belgian French Belgium  
Italian Chinese Dutch Netherlands Netherlands
Romanian Australian Dutch Netherlands Netherlands
Romanian Dutch South African South Africa Netherlands

Recent placements Treasurer Search – The international picture

Half of the clients listed are non-Dutch. Reasons, most mentioned by companies to set up a Dutch headquarter, treasury or sub holding entities are the fiscal climate, The Netherlands being well-connected to the rest of the world and the available skills. About 50% of the contact persons we do business with, both in internal recruitment or HR, as well as in treasury or finance, are also non-Dutch. This is also caused by representatives of headquarters being send in our direction as well as local staff hired being non-Dutch.

We see the most different nationalities in the column with candidates placed. This is not a recent development, we already see this for a very long time. Without trying to be fully comprehensive, I think the over-representation of non-Dutch can be explained by the following:

  • Treasury is hardly taught in the Dutch educational system (nor in most other countries). The labour market for financial graduates is tight, many of the Dutch step into controlling, audit or consultancy. Many Non-Dutch graduates of Dutch schools want to stay in The Netherlands. They are often rejected for regular finance jobs due to lack of language skills, not for the lack of talent or work ethics. Treasury, by nature, is international, so that is where they are hired and can build a career;
  • As a consequence of the first point, the internationals quickly learn how appealing working in treasury is. This might never be noticed by other financials or if they do, it is hard for them to catch up;
  • Non-Dutch corporates set up new treasury entities in The Netherlands and send in own staff who want stay are recruited by us for other companies;
  • International treasury experts with ambition look where the right opportunities are. In the current labour market the right opportunity also means paying attention to work-life, a safe place to build a family next to the professional challenge. The Netherlands, so think many, offer all;
  • And final relevant aspect: not only in treasury the labour market in The Netherlands is very international.

Worldwide and also within the EU we see a disbalance in the labour market. Unemployment in The Netherlands is that low that it slows down economic growth. I recently spoke with a  treasury professor in Spain who told me about students working on completing their fifth (!) master level education, avoiding being unemployed. Rather than studying they would prefer to work and we see them immigrating. Right now it is relatively hard for non-EU treasury staff to enter our labour market. I can imagine it will not take too long before they will be considered.

In the final paragraph of this blog I want to pay attention to how to connect, how to cooperate in this global (treasury labour) market. How you are raised, within a certain country culture results in how you act as an employee. For example, we Dutch are being known for our direct, sometimes rude, communication style. Working with different nationalities in one team results in great new insights and results but also in collisions and conflicts. Academic research on this topic started decades ago by Hofstede and Trompenaars. More recent, very interesting work has been published by Erin Meyer. I can recommend her book “The Culture Map”. With my international working and living track record, a lot fell into place with her input.

I consider this topic very inspiring and will keep my eyes open for interesting developments. And would also love to hear/read what you see in your international team.

Pieter de Kiewit

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