Nearly 90 percent of Dutch professionals are not willing to relocate for work. This makes the Dutch the most geographically stable workforce in Europe. As a result, accessibility is key for companies: if they’re not easily accessible, people will find a job closer to home.

As part of a research study examining daily commuting habits, PageGroup asked over 12 thousand Europeans whether they were willing to relocate if this would make their commute easier. But regardless of age, location or gender, Dutch respondents said no en masse. Their response is in stark contrast to the rest of Europe. For example, nearly half of our neighbours to the south are willing to relocate.

Residents of Gelderland seem most attached to their homes: only 2.4 percent feel relocating for work is a viable option. Employees in Noord-Holland are most willing to relocate: 17 percent indicated they would consider it. Companies need to keep this information in mind if they want to move their activities.

How many Europeans are willing to relocate for work?

Large reorganisations are increasingly accompanied by corporate relocations, gathering all activities into a single location. The challenge is to choose a location that is easily accessible for all employees. Most people are willing to commute for up to an hour. So Rotterdam-Den Haag is almost unanimously considered no problem, but Amsterdam-Eindhoven is a bridge too far for many commuters. Chances are that the latter group would look for a new job closer to home.

How long do Dutch professionals spend commuting to work?

One of the most important issues in terms of accessibility is the significant difference in commuting time between those who take the car and those who take public transport. Almost 70 percent of all public transport users say their commute takes more than 45 minutes, while only 34 percent of drivers can say the same. In this light, it is no surprise that the number of drivers far exceeds those who use public transport on their commute. There are various examples of companies which have acknowledged this problem. Consultancy Arcadis decided to move their offices to a building near the station in Den Bosch, resulting in an increase in public transport use from 3 to 24 percent.

Public transport versus car users

Companies’ poor accessibility sometimes coincides with poor public transport efficiency. Compared to similar countries like Germany and Switzerland, Dutch professionals have a low opinion of public transport commuting links: only 67 percent feel public transport is efficient.

One reason for this is that some companies can simply only be reached by car. Various companies in West-Brabant are having trouble hiring interns because there is no bus link to their offices.

One industrial estate in Papendorp near Utrecht had a similar problem. They teamed up with the municipality of Utrecht to set up a shuttle service. In some cases, this saved employees 50 percent of their commuting time. Such measures made it much easier for companies to attract talent.

How many employees in Europe feel public transport is efficient?

Accessibility by car is generally much less of a problem. Despite complaints of traffic jams, Dutch drivers are the happiest commuters in all of Europe. While countries like Germany and Belgium see around 40 percent of employees arrive at work stressed due to traffic and other delays, only 19 percent of Dutch employees indicate the same.

How many drivers arrive at their workplace stressed?

Still, drivers would also rather not spend more than an hour commuting. How can companies ensure that their employees stay on board if that line is crossed?  Although most employers are faced with this question sooner or later, employment contracts often do not mention commuting times. However, there are a number of schemes allowing employers to compensate their staff. One financial hurdle can be removed by reimbursing relocation expenses. Provided it meets certain conditions, this reimbursement is tax-deductible for businesses. One such condition is that employees must live at least 25 kilometres away from their place of work prior to the relocation. Limburg-born distribution company DHL Fashion managed to use this scheme to convince nearly all of its 150 employees to relocate to Tiel when the company moved there. Those who wished to stay in Venlo were allowed to commute during work hours. That stipulation persuaded most employees.

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Nearly 90 percent of Dutch professionals are not willing to relocate for work. This makes the Dutch the most geographically stable workforce in Europe.

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