International Talent Perception Study 

Future Place Leadership has conducted an analysis of the drivers and barriers of talent on talent international mobility from the following nationalities: Egypt, South-Africa, Turkey, Brazil, India, Mexico, Italy, Great-Britain, Taiwan.

The purpose: To take a closer look at the international talent perceptions of The Netherlands (Hint we have also done it for Sweden) as career destinations.

The result: Introducing our latest product: The International Perception Study

The challenge?

Future Place Leadership is pleased with the invitation to offer a proposal to execute a NL Talent Index – in our product portfolio called an “International Talent Perception Study as regards the Netherlands as a career destination”.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate responsible for the attraction and retention of international talent to The Netherlands, and Future Place Leadership welcomes the Netherlands Point of Entry (NPoE) and the members of the Talent Coalition to looking for more insights into international STEM talents’ pre-conceptions regarding living and working in the Netherlands. This knowledge is a must have to be able to define a strategy for Talent Attraction Management that closely aligns with the goals of the Dutch government. With labour market shortages being historically high and structural in nature – because of demographics and the socio-economic transitions at hand – the need for this kind of information is super urgent.

The discussions in the Dutch Talent ecosystem relate to the following topics:

– Amongst international talent, do the ideas of the Netherlands fulfil their expectations regarding the aspects of life and career and also,
– What is their perception of the quality of these aspects in other parts of the globe? Do they favour other countries over the Netherlands and if so, why?
– Does international talent choose to work abroad based on a country or a region perspective?
– Does the perception of international talent about the Netherlands differ between different profiles in STEM?
– To what extent are the conceptions that members and partners of the Talent Coalition hold as regards the perceived attractiveness of our country amongst this international target group true or false? Are their assumptions correct or should they be done away with because they prove to be misconceptions?


The solution

The outcomes of the Study answers the questions above and shed more light on potential discrepancies between own government and stakeholder  assumptions and those held by the target group considering a move to another country to work and live. The methodology followed these 3 steps:

1. A questionnaire drafted to gauge perceptions regarding working and living in the Netherlands distributed to panels of 200 STEM talents in 8 (eight) different countries: Egypt, South-Africa, Turkey, Brazil, India, Mexico, Italy, Great-Britain, and, Taiwan. The target group was defined as: aged between 25-45 years, highly educated STEM talent, and employed in STEM sector

2. A raw dataset of anonymized answers of the ca. 1600 respondents

3. A report including to the point graphs, explanatory texts and recommendations.



The findings of the report are currently being activated in the following way:

  • Feed into a Talent Attraction Management strategy development and agenda setting;
  • Translate appreciated features of a life-career in the Netherlands into optimised and/or customised propositions towards international STEM talent in general and subsegments of this group of professionals in particular. The sub-segments can either relate to nationality, skill-set (profession), household, age group and other variables
  • Address assets that are being perceived ‘not too well’ by the respondents. These assets either need a better / other display or need improvements in terms of quality and/or quantity to meet the expectations of this target group;
  • By comparing perceptions held by the STEM talents regarding NL versus other countries we may better understand our position in terms of rankings, know what best practices elsewhere we may learn from;
  • By comparing perceptions held by internationals already in the Netherlands with those amongst the highly educated still abroad, we may better understand what pre-conceptions actually exist. Changing (false) preconceptions amongst the target audience abroad is one way to convert awareness into interest into action, or in recruitment terms: candidates into actual hires.
  • Check assumptions ‘of the self’ (that is the organisations involved in talent attraction and retention at the national, regional and local level) as regards ‘ knowing your customer’ and the talent journey to the Netherlands as a career destination. Which of our own conceptions regarding ‘what the customer wants’ prove to be true, what others prove misconceptions?
  • Feed into the discussion on Place Branding: what ‘Place’ should be most prominent in acquisition efforts abroad? The national or regional brand? At what stage in the talent journey might the regional brand become more relevant?

In summary:

The Study will give a clear picture of perceived pleasures and pitfalls that exist in the minds of international STEM talent regarding the Netherlands. Perceptions are always real for the beholder. It is the clients’ task to influence perceptions to better serve the talent acquisition goals. The Study will increase awareness of our own bias and help to demystify misbeliefs we hold.


Who are these studies for?

For government at national, regional and local level responsible for (the marketing of) a competitive business and residential climate with the aim to foster relocation decisions by both FDI and talent, in favour of their Place.

For innovation districts to develop, deliver and optimize a proposition in alignment with the expectations of (lead)clients. Goal is to attract and/or retain businesses and talent for the district. 

For companies with an urgent demand for talent exploring international labour markets for talent acquisition and retention of internationals currently working in their organization.

For educational and knowledge institutes to support their acquisition and retention activities aimed at international students.

For employers in the public domain that consider attracting talent from abroad.

For local service providers in real estate, healthcare, childcare, banking and the legal / immigration domain that would like to better understand the expectations of their (lead) clients.


Contact & queries


Get in touch with us if you are interested in knowing more about the report and how we can help your region to get better at attracting talent.

More on the topic

Find our free handbooks & white papers on Talent Attraction at our handbook library!


Let's Chat!

Get in touch with us today to see how Future Place Leadership can help your organisation succeed.