Part 1: An overview of the analytics labor market in the Netherlands

In the series ‘Where Data Professionals Work’ we discuss the findings of the market research we conduct with concern to the labor market of data professionals in the Netherlands. We publish these findings as we believe these to be informative to data professionals and data-driven organizations alike. To this end, we primarily use public data provided by LinkedIn and its users. Although we try to be as accurate as possible, please do feel free to contact us at info@broadwick.nl if you are of the opinion that any findings are (partially) incorrect or if you would like to request more information.

Introducing: ‘Where data professionals work’

In this first part of ‘Where Data Professionals Work’, we provide you with an overview of the labor market of data professionals. Although the analytics market is maturing, leading to increased levels in terms of specialization and job titles, we focused on three roles for this piece: data engineers (4,000), data scientists (7,500), and data analysts (13,500). In sum, this implies that there are approximately 25,000 data professionals that are currently employed in the Netherlands.

The ranking of employers is based on the absolute numbers of data professionals they employ, although we have also calculated a ‘Data Professional Intensity’ metric. The Data Professional Intensity metric is calculated by taking the number of data professionals employed by an organization and dividing this by its total number of employees. In other words: if an organization has a Data Professional Intensity of 5%, it employs 5 data professionals out of every 100 employees.

So, where do they work?

Firstly, Table 1 below provides the top 10 employers of data professionals in the Netherlands. Afterwards, the subsequent tables provide a top 10 of employers of data professionals within certain ranges of organizational sizes in terms of total employees. These size classifications are based on the search criteria of LinkedIn.

Table 1 – The Top 10 Employers of Data Professionals in the Netherlands (all organizational sizes)

RankOrganizationData Professional Intensity
1ING2.6%
2ABN AMRO2.5%
3Rabobank1.6%
4Booking.com6.2%
5ASML2.0%
6Belastingdienst1.4%
7KPN1.1%
8Shell1.5%
9Philips1.0%
10VodafoneZiggo2.1%

As shown in Table 1 above, this top 10 is spearheaded by the famous Dutch banking trio of ING, ABN AMRO, and Rabobank. In fact, these three banks jointly employ well over 5% of the data professionals that are currently active in the Netherlands. Moreover, the organizations that make up this top 10 in combination employ an estimated 10% of the total pool of data professionals. There are considerable differences, however, in terms of the underlying Data Professional Intensity – which points to the importance of redoing the ranking process for different size classifications. Let us look at Table 2 next.

Table 2 – Top 10 Employers of Data Professionals in the Netherlands (>10,000 employees)

RankOrganizationData Professional Intensity
1ING2.6%
2ABN AMRO2.5%
3Rabobank1.6%
4ASML2.0%
5Belastingdienst1.4%
6KPN1.1%
7Philips1.0%
8KLM0.7%
9CBS0.5%
10City of Amsterdam0.6%

As you may have noticed, Booking.com, Shell, and VodafoneZiggo have given up their spots in the ranking (for now). As such, this has allowed ASML, KPN, and Philips to climb upwards. In addition, three new names have surfaced on the list: KLM, CBS (the Central Statistical Office) and the City of Amsterdam. Furthermore, the average Data Professional Intensity of these 10 organizations decreased from 2.2% to slightly less than 1.5%.  This is somewhat peculiar, as the correlation between organizational size (in terms of employees) and the number of data professionals employed by organizations lies above 0.5. Up next: Table 3.

Table 3 – Top 10 Employers of Data Professionals in the Netherlands (5,001-10,000 employees)

RankOrganizationData Professional Intensity
1Booking.com6.2%
2Shell1.5%
3VodafoneZiggo2.1%
4Capgemini1,5%
5NN1.6%
6Achmea1.5%
7PostNL0.8%
8NS0.9%
9UMC Utrecht0.7%
10FrieslandCampina0.8%

We see Booking.com, Shell, and VodafoneZiggo reclaim their spots, in addition to the arrival of plenty of new names – leading to considerable underlying differences. Booking.com, for example, was established in 1996 as a natively digital company, which may have laid an early foundation for the later application of analytics. Conversely, the dairy operations of FrieslandCampina go back to the 19th century. And for companies with long histories, strategic change and renewal generally become more difficult over time – a phenomenon known as ‘organizational inertia’, which we will discuss in a later article. But for now, let us turn to Table 4.

Table 4 – Top 10 Employers of Data Professionals in the Netherlands (1,001-5,000 employees)

RankOrganizationData Professional Intensity
1Bol.com3.9%
2De Volksbank2.7%
3Sogeti3.4%
4Ordina3.7%
5Atos1.8%
6Vanderlande3.4%
7Nike2.0%
8Unilever2.1%
9Eneco3.0%
10Stedin2.7%

Online retailer Bol.com takes the number 1 spot in this classification. (Disclaimer: Albert Heijn and Bol.com are viewed as distinct companies, although both are part of Ahold Delhaize. This also applies to similar situations.) At this point, the average Data Professional Intensity has also climbed back up to almost 3%. As stated before, this paints somewhat of a mixed picture. Whereas an increase in organizational size is generally associated with an increase in data professionals that are employed by an organization, the correlation between size and Data Professional Intensity is slightly negative. Nonetheless, let us move on to Table 5.

Table 5 – Top 10 Employers of Data Professionals in the Netherlands (501-1,000 employees)

RankOrganizationData Professional Intensity
1Adyen5.9%
2Ilionx5.4%
3eBay7.7%
4Ericsson3.5%
5NN Investment Partners3.5%
6Exact2.8%
7Ortec5.1%
8NIBC Bank3.9%
9Takeaway.com3.3%
10VIVAT2.2%

In this case, Adyen comes in at 1st place in terms of absolute numbers. For those who are unfamiliar with the company, Adyen is a player in the online payment processing industry and has worked its way towards achieving a preeminent market position since its founding in 2006 – with its stock price more than tripling since its listing in June 2018. In addition, we once again see an increase in the Average Data Professional Intensity. eBay, for example, is characterized by having almost 8 data professionals out of every 100 employees. Lastly, let us take a look at Table 6.

Table 6 – Top 10 Employers of Data Professionals in the Netherlands (<500 employees)

RankOrganizationData Professional Intensity
1Digital Power62.8%
2Itility21.7%
3Xomnia61.4%
4VIQTOR DAVIS28.9%
5YGroup Companies33.3%
6Hot ITem14.0%
7HERE Technologies11.7%
8EY VODW31.4%
9GoDataDriven60.4%
10MIcompany37.5%

Except for HERE Technologies, which was acquired by a consortium of German car makers in 2015, all the organizations listed in Table 6 are consultancy firms (we will cover these in more detail in a future article). At this point, the top 10 features an average Data Professional Intensity of 36.3%. This metric also allows one to measure the extent of diversification of these consultancy firms, with the more focused players generally scoring higher on this metric. Digital Power is purely focused on the analytics domain, for example, as is evident by its high Data Professional Intensity of over 60%.

The wrap-up

As noted earlier, the distribution of data professionals across organizations appears to be extraordinarily skewed. Seemingly, the initial top 10 employs over 10% of all data professionals – with the top 3 firms employing approximately 1,350 (or over 5%) of all data professionals. Looking at the Data Professional Intensity of organizations that apply analytics internally, companies like eBay, Booking.com, and Adyen stand out as well.  As studies (e.g., Brynjolfsson, Hitt & Kim, 2011) have pointed to the likely causal relationship between data-driven decision-making and the positive effects this has on firm performance, this certainly bodes well for the future of these companies.

We hope that this first article proves to be informative and look forward to taking a deeper diver into the data. In the second part of ‘Where Data Professionals Work’, we will take a specific look at the role of data engineering. In subsequent articles, we will also cover the labor market of data analysts and data scientists – with the latter including a dedicated edition to consultancy firms. Thanks for reading and until next time.

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