Erika Santos


The professional market in the Netherlands for someone from abroad

About the author

name is Erika, I am 24 years old, I am Brazilian, and I have been living in the Netherlands since April 2022. I have a degree in accounting, and I am currently working at a Big4 office, as a Senior accountant providing financial services. As soon as I moved to the Netherlands, I noticed a significant difference between the Brazilian and European labor market.


The context of work in Brazil

In Brazil, teenagers need to choose a profession that is between ’the profession of their dreams’ and ‘what is well paid’, over the years the result of this choice is reflected in the professional market: renowned professions (such as lawyers and engineers) are saturated, few jobs in relation to the number of graduates. And what happens next? These professionals need to work as apps drivers or occupy unskilled positions.

When I bring this macro scenario into my reality, I see that Brazilians enroll in an accounting degree on the promise that they will never be without work, since companies have tax obligations that only an can fulfill. In this way, over the years the number of accountants in the market has become much greater than the number of vacancies available, a fact that makes employers impose their boundaries on employees who have no choice – either they deliver or are fired, therefore, in general, accountants in Brazil have excessive workloads for mediocre wages.


The experience in the Netherlands

The interaction between employer and employee in both countries

On the other hand, in the Netherlands, the experience I have had is that the labor relationship is much more focused on the balance between professional and personal life, so that there is no need for a law to exist saying that the employee needs to rest at least a given number of hours before their next shift or that their lunch break needs to be done in a certain length of time and not to mention that, for me as a woman, it is very important to know that culturally there is no possibility of me being fired as soon as I return from maternity leave because now I have a child to take care of and possibly need to be absent from work to attend commitments such as doctor and school.

As a Brazilian, I love my country, but unfortunately issues like these ones mentioned throughout this text made me move out from my country as soon as I had the opportunity. It is worth emphasizing that this is my personal story, and that each person has a unique experience that can be influenced by several factors but, in general, the Dutch labor market is much more structured and balanced than the Brazilian labor market.

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