Study shows discrimination in Dutch labour market still rampant

Perhaps thought a thing of the past, discrimination is still alive and well in the Dutch labour market. Recent surveys show that a large percentage of job applicants have felt discriminated against because of their gender, origin, and age. 

In a survey by Intermediary and Nationale Vacaturebank, over 2,100 respondents were asked about their experiences with discrimination in the labour market. The respondents included employees, employers, and jobseekers. 

According to the survey, 55% of current employees report being discriminated against during the hiring process. The most frequently reported source of discrimination is age (53%), followed by origin (27%), and then gender (18%). 

The highest percentage of discrimination regarding origin was among applicants with a Turkish, Surinamese, Moroccan, or Antillean background: 76% report experiencing discrimination during the application process.

One survey respondent, Eveline Gillot (33) says that she was turned down for a job because of her pregnancy. She tells Intermediair, “Eventually I was called back with a member of the board – the company then had a three-headed male board – and I was told: yes, super annoying, but we decided to do the second choice. We think it is a risk that you are pregnant and we don’t know how to come back after that.”

An interesting note is that employers share a quite different perspective: while 73% of the unemployed and 57% of salaried employees view discrimination as a problem, only 43% of employers consider it an issue.

On July 3, a diversity bill was approved by the Council of Ministers for a growth quota for women on the supervisory boards of large public and private companies. Their aim is to balance the proportion of men and women at the top and bottom of the company. The bill will be evaluated after five years.

READ MORE Discrimination in the Dutch Job Market is Still Alive and Well

You can learn more about your rights as an international employee through
The Nationale Vacaturebank also provides helpful information regarding prohibited questions in job vacancy texts, including:
  • Ethnicity, race, nationality 
  • Religion or belief 
  • Sex
  • Pregnant or maternity 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Age 
  • Disability or chronic illness
  • Marital status 
  • Political preferences

Have you ever been discriminated against during the hiring process in the Netherlands? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Feature Image: Daniel Reche/Pexels

Brin Andrews
Brin Andrews
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.


  1. It’s been one year since I moved to Holland. I tried to send 40 applications to different companies but I always got rejected. Some of them said,” they only hire people that speak Dutch.” But in fact, I see a lot of people who speak English and they have a job.
    Is it because I am 27 years old, with zero experience even though I have a master’s degree and I am from Asia and Muslim? I don’t know it’s really hurt me. So until today, I don’t have any job.


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