Discrimination in the Dutch Job Market is Still Alive and Well

Have you ever tried looking for temporary work in the Netherlands through an employment agency but just seemed like it was too hard? It may not have been you or your CV but the agency itself. According to a recent investigation by Store Support, 40% of the agencies agree to not send temporary workers if they’re not Dutch. And we aren’t talking purely about nationality here – Dutch nationals with foreign backgrounds are also excluded.

The agencies sampled are not affiliated with the General Employment Agency (ABU) and the Dutch Association of Employment and Temporary Employment Agencies (NBBU), the largescale private companies that are associations of these types of agencies. But they’re far from innocent themselves. Although they require their members to follow an anti-discrimination policy, earlier investigations revealed that 13% of ABU members and 26% of NBBU members also follow such discriminatory practices, reports NU.nl.

Photo credits: amtec_photos/flickr

Discrimination in the Netherlands: the investigations do not stop here

In light of these recent revelations, the government would like to carry out further investigations to bring these discriminatory policies under check. State Secretary for Social Affairs Tamara van Ark told nu.nl that she believes that these numbers show everyone that there is still a long way to go. She would also like to bring other gatekeepers of employment like recruitment agencies, online platforms and so on under scrutiny as well.

So far, DutchReview has covered multiple instances where racism and discrimination in the Netherlands have taken the forefront in the news cycle in the last year. For example, discrimination based surnames seem to be just one form. Results show that the job applications from someone who has a Dutch-sounding surname are 9% more likely to be opened, as opposed to a job application from someone who has a non-Dutch sounding surname.

Did you have everything prepared – from the CV to the interview – but still got rejected? Do you think factors other than work experience came into play when you got rejected? Do have any experiences with facing discrimination in the job market in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments below!


Kavana Desai
Kavana Desaihttps://medium.com/@kavanadesai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


  1. A few years ago I recommended a friend for a position after a company asked me if I knew anyone with a background in finance. I sent my friends CV with very good qualifications and the response I got was “sorry, we don’t sponsor visas”. Funny thing was, my friend didn’t need a visa, and was more than qualified for the job. However, he had an African name, and they disqualified him based in this assumption.


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