Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and the most populous city in the country. Currently, it’s one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies with a history of continuous growth since 2013. In 2019, Amsterdam Metropolitan Area registered an economic growth that was 1.9% higher than that of the rest of the Netherlands. It has naturally become the nexus of Europe with so many employment opportunities and companies being established. If you are an expat seeking to find employment in Amsterdam or want to know whether you’re receiving fair wages, or even to learn to calculate your salary and taxes, you have come to the right place. I have compiled all the information you need in this article.
The average salary in Amsterdam as of 2020 is 11,500 EUR ($12,884) per month for the salaried workers, which translates to 138,000 EUR a year. For those with hourly jobs, the average pay per hour in this city is 66 EUR. The salaries range from a minimum of 1,850 EUR to a maximum of 49,600 EUR per month.
The city of Amsterdam offers some of the highest salaries in the country and in the region due to its strong economy, which is thanks to the strong tourism industry, a business-friendly government, a highly-skilled workforce, and digital renaissance. The city also boasts international competitiveness, which attracts foreign investment in commercial services such as construction and technology. As a result, foreign companies have contributed up to 20% of local employment. That being said, the city has recently experienced a slight decrease in economic growth due to a weak international economy and the shortage of labour resources in the healthcare, information technology, hospitality, business, and tourism industries. The good news is it’s working towards curbing this problem by launching programs to train people the skills required in these fields.
Average Salary in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s average monthly salary of 12,884 USD is inclusive of employee benefits such as housing, medical, and transport. However, this is just an average figure and salaries vary between different careers and other factors such as government policies, the capability of the company, job position, and the country’s economy at large among other things. Amsterdam has registered salaries that are 10% more compared to those of the Netherlands as a whole. If you are interested in finding out the average monthly salary of a particular job in Amsterdam, here are a few to get you started:
- Accountant – $8,809.54
- Financial Analyst – $13,099.68
- Internal Auditor – $12,335.66
- Receptionist – $9,431.87
- Secretary – $6,840.23
- Administrative Assistant – $6,796.59
- Graphic Designer – $8,202.68
- Photographer – $8,093.61
- Pilot – $14,614.74
- Aerospace Engineer – $12,798.76
- Architect – $11,339.88
- Mechanic – $6,749.41
- Teacher – $9,889.28
- Translator – $10,619.80
- Civil Engineer – $10,674.09
- Electrical Engineer – $12,211.42
- Mechanical Engineer – $11,989.98
- Chief Executive Officer – $23,979.96
- Waiter/waitress – $7,771.55
- Dentist – $28,557.44
- Attorney – $17,980.41
The above salaries might differ slightly with what ultimately gets to you. You might get a lower amount because of deductions such as taxes. You can also get a higher amount in case of advance loans, compensation, or salary increment. Below are two of the main salary determinants in Amsterdam:
Just as in most countries, the higher the level of education the higher the amount of salary. Professionals at the same level earn differently depending on their college degree levels. Those with a diploma or a certificate earn 17% more than those who only reached high school. Bachelor degree holders earn 24% more than those with a certificate or diploma. Professionals who hold a master’s degree earn 29% more than those who have attained a Bachelor’s degree. Finally, PhD holders receive 23% more than those who hold a Master’s degree. Many employees have learned the tactic of pursuing higher education while working to switch to a higher-paying job.
The Dutch tax office collects tax from every person earning within the country, whether an expat, a local, or a Dutch citizen living abroad. Income taxes in Amsterdam are very high, although expats get a 30% ruling where only 70% of their gross salary is taxed. The Dutch fiscal year begins on 1st January and runs to December 31st. This information is important when filing the annual income tax return in Amsterdam. The rates are 36.65% for employees earning up to 22,769 USD, 38.10% for those earning between 22,769-75,258 USD, and 51.75% for those earning above 75,258 USD.
If you are employed by a company, your income tax will be withheld by your employer from your salary. The employer will also hold back your pension contributions and unemployment allowance. If you are self-employed, you must calculate your income and pay through the annual tax return. When reviewing salaries from different jobs, it is important to keep these deductions in mind since they make a huge difference between your gross salary and your net salary.
The Dutch labour law states that employees can only work for no more than 9 hours a day and between 40-45 hours a week. The standard number of working days in a week is 5 and Sunday is considered a resting day. Employees are also granted a paid statutory leave of 20 days annually and some employers may extend it by five days.
According to the Dutch labour law, if you are a foreigner from a nation that attained EU membership before May 2004, you are allowed to work without a permit. Job seekers are allowed in the country for a maximum of 3 months without restrictions. After 3 months, you will require a residence permit issued by the Foreign Police. If you are in the possession of a valid residence permit, you are entitled to rights similar to those of the Dutch citizens.
Amsterdam Average Income per Person
A person working in Amsterdam earns an average income of 12,884 USD per month, which is inclusive of employee benefits such as transport and housing. On average, one’s starting salary doubles when they cross the ’10 years-experience’ mark. It rises by 21% after ten years then later increases by 14% once you hit 15 years.
The average income per person in an hour is 72 USD. This applies only to hourly-paid employees since salaried employees earn a fixed amount at the end of the month regardless of the number of hours they work. This income per person is distributed to expenses as follows:
- Monthly utilities 5.6%
- Market 23.4%
- Transportation 11.7%
- Rent 38.5%
- Clothing and shoes 2.6%
- Restaurants 13.3%
- Sports and leisure 4.8%
Minimum Wage in Amsterdam
The minimum wage in Amsterdam is controlled by the country’s Dutch Labour Law, which is reviewed every year on the 1st January and 1st July. As of January 2020, the national minimum wage in the Netherlands was set at 1,653 Euros (1,794 USD) per month or 19,627 Euros (21,534 USD) per annum, taking into account 12 payments in a year. The national minimum wage applies to every employee working in the country, including in Amsterdam. No employer is allowed to pay salaries below the national minimum wage.
That being said, the monthly gross minimum wage is lower if you are under 21 years of age. It has been set as follows:
- 1,322 Euros (1,446 USD) for 20-year olds
- 992 Euros (1,084 USD) for 19-year olds
- 826 Euros (903 USD) for those aged 18 years,
- 653 Euros (714 USD) for those aged 17 years,
- 570 Euros (623 USD) for those aged 16 years
- 496 Euros (542 USD) for those aged 15 years
The net salary you receive will depend on how much is deducted from your gross salary by your employer. Net salaries in Amsterdam vary from one person to another because the government only lays down gross salaries.
As an ex-pat, the laid down national minimum wage acts as security protecting you from exploitation by employers. For any employer to hire a foreigner from a non-EU country, they must apply for an employment permit, which is only issued if the employer is paying at least the full minimum payable wage. This applies only to employees above 21 years old.
Amsterdam Income Distribution
There is unequal income distribution in Amsterdam. Although the city’s economy is constantly growing, only the well-educated are benefiting. Their wealth is increasing while that of those with lower levels of education is declining.
The Amsterdam office for research known as Information and Statistics (I+S) has pointed out that the inequality in income distribution in the country is worst in Amsterdam. That’s because of the rising number of multinational companies that offer high-paying salaries and obviously employ highly-educated people only. Since these multinationals contribute to 30% of the jobs in the capital, people with low levels of education remain unemployed and are therefore in the middle-class bracket.
The widening wealth gap has resulted in great spatial segregation among the people. This social inequality has forced people to live farther away from those in income classes different than theirs. Wealthy people from other parts of the country are also moving into Amsterdam for better housing, health care, transport, education, and good pay. Ultimately, this wide gap between the rich and the poor will become a breeding ground for social unrest and misunderstanding. This situation is predicted to get worse in the future since Amsterdam is preoccupied with liberalisation and globalisation.
Another area where income inequality is evident in Amsterdam is in gender. Male employees in Amsterdam earn relatively 5% more than their female counterparts in most professions. Employees in the private sector also earn 5% more than their counterparts in the public sector.
A limited level of inequality in income distribution is normal but extreme levels should be avoided. The government should invest more in education and social mobility to try and bridge this gap. It should also invest in local communities and neighbourhoods.
Amsterdam Job Market
Amsterdam is the business and financial hub of the Netherlands. There are numerous job opportunities for international job seekers. It is home to over 2,700 international companies and headquarters to global companies such as Booking.com, Internationale Nederlanden Groep (ING), Phillips, Heineken, and many others.
Looking for a job in Amsterdam is difficult not only for expats but also for the locals. That’s because the capital suffers a high rate of unemployment. However, it is known for expertise such as marketing, financial service, teaching, media survey, and creativity. If you are seeking a job in these fields, then the capital is the best option in the Netherlands. To make job hunting easier, I recommend you can sign up with recruitment agencies in the area.
English-speaking jobs are easy to find in this Dutch city since English has become the commonly used language in most businesses. That being said, learning Dutch will greatly increase your chances of getting a job here. From my experience, companies that accept English-speaking employees mostly specify that they have to be native speakers.
The chances of getting a job are better in the hospitality industry since tourists, hotels, cafes, restaurants, and bars are always overflowing. Since the hospitality industry includes working part-time, it provides job opportunities for students who want to earn a few extra Euros.
The job market in Amsterdam is not so promising in other fields. It’s almost impossible to get a good professional job without very high qualifications. What makes the job market in Amsterdam even more difficult is the fact that entry-level jobs require many years of experience. International companies require at least two years of working experience, which does not include internship.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.