Recently, I had several interviews at a high-tech startup about a fun and challenging position. I guess the talks went well because during the meeting with the CEO, I was asked to think about a salary proposal. I still have some time to ponder this, as I’m also having a technical interview in two days.
I came to the Netherlands from Asia six years ago, after having worked a couple of years on international assignments for several American chip companies. My initial salary here was ‘adjusted’ for the 30 percent ruling. As a result, my gross income was lower than that of colleagues with a comparable position, but my net earnings were a little bit higher. When this tax scheme ended after 5 years, my salary took a big dip. Currently, my net income is 30 percent lower than before. My attempts to convince HR to do something about this have so far been unsuccessful. Some time ago, I was promised a promotion, but nothing has happened since.
I want to earn my old net salary again and preferably even more. I wonder how to go about this, especially since I recently received an offer from another company that was much lower than I think is acceptable.
The headhunter answers:
The amount of an offer depends on several factors. These include the importance and urgency of the position, the required education level, experience and specialist abilities, such as market knowledge and communication skills, as well as your direct employability for the job. And then there are factors such as the company’s existing salary structure, its profitability, the phase it’s in, and so on.
To make it more attractive for foreigners to come and work in the Netherlands, there’s a 5-year tax credit allowing Dutch employers to provide untaxed compensation for employees’ extraterritorial costs. Instead of reimbursing the actual extraterritorial costs, they may also provide 30 percent of the income, including reimbursements, tax-free. In determining the salary, employers take into account the previous income, the tax burden and the cost of living in the country of origin. For example, a Samsung engineer from Seoul recently received a net offer of 90,000 euros, including the 30 percent scheme, for a senior design role. It was this high because otherwise, he wouldn’t have accepted it.
Your current salary has been determined in the same way. In the region where you used to work, the salaries are lower than in the Netherlands and the offer you received at the time was a big step-up for you. Including the 30 percent rule, you earned as much as your other colleagues. After the scheme’s expiration, your net salary plummeted, even below that of your peers. But that doesn’t mean that you have to accept it.
I’ve encountered many people who were in the same situation. Rather than biting the bullet, however, they applied for a job somewhere else and negotiated a competitive salary. So, be crystal clear about your expectations and actively look for new opportunities. There are plenty of good jobs out there.