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© Sculpture: Jos Dirix
© Sculpture: Jos Dirix

Cross border movements of Treasurers and what drives them

Pieter de Kiewit 23-06-2022 9:04 AM

Over the last weeks I saw the topic of fiscal expat rulings popping up in various media. The labour market is tight and governments want to support employers in attracting the best talent. Also internationally. In The Netherlands we have the “30% ruling” that takes care expats are not taxed over the first 30% of their income. Among politicians there is a discussion about this because, do we want to attract the best? Or do we consider lowering taxes for those who are already earning a lot not appropriate….?

What we see in the specific treasury labour market in The Netherlands, 70% of the placed candidates and also contact persons with clients, are non-Dutch. We did some non-statistical research to find out if taking away the 30% ruling would have impact by screening drivers of treasurers coming to The Netherlands.

We have a lot of treasury centres of non-Dutch companies, next to the regular treasury departments of the HQs of Dutch companies. Historically these centres were in Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and The Netherlands. Most of the governments of these countries took away fiscal advantages so companies chose to leave, for example Belgium a bit longer ago, and now also Switzerland. So to first state the obvious, if you want to work in treasury, you come to The Netherlands because there is relevant work there. More than in other countries.

A lot has been published about the drivers of various generations: millennials, Y, Z and other labels. Work-life balance, company culture, chance to have impact and adventure are just a few aspects the younger generation, on average, values more than the older. The Dutch country and company culture is often non-hierarchical, a meritocracy, informal and does not require Dutch language skills. Especially not for treasury. The Netherlands is easy to access and live in. Many of the international candidates we work with, mention these aspects. Even the “older ones”.

My personal observation is that salary is important but almost never decisive for candidates to choose a certain opportunity. I think that is, at the end of the day, a healthy situation because, also scientifically proven, extra money will not motivate you in the long run*. Not having access to the 30% ruling is considered a shame but hardly ever a dealbreaker. As a Dutch tax payer I say, abolish the rule! On behalf of my many international treasury friends, I say keep it! 

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