For a relatively small country, the Netherlands has a strong ICT sector. In the fourth quarter of 202, the Dutch ICT sector consisted of more than 82,000 companies. ICT companies accounted for 4.3 percent of the total number of Dutch companies and the number of ICT companies has steadily increased over the past ten years. Almost 93 percent of the companies in the industry are active as ICT service providers while the number of ICT wholesale companies is declining. Total expenditure on ICT goods by companies, governments, and households amounted to $20.7 billion in 2019. The expenditure on ICT services was considerably higher at $48 billion.
The Dutch ICT sector benefits from a growth-friendly ecosystem. The Netherlands ranks among the top EU countries with the largest share of inhabitants, who are proficient in using the internet, computers, and software. The country’s technological environment is also supported by strong digital infrastructure. The Dutch rank second in the world for online connectivity, with 98 percent of households having a broadband connection. Due to these factors, the WEF global competitive index ranks the Netherlands third in the world for technological readiness. The Dutch government supports the ICT sector with its Digitalization Strategy and the Digital Agenda, which promotes education, knowledge and innovation, fast and open infrastructure, security and confidence, scope for enterprise, and digitalization of industry, healthcare, energy, and mobility.
Demand continues to rise for teleworking software, teleconferencing software, mobile software, cloud-based software, and networking software. At the same time, cyber security solutions have become increasingly important and there is a growing demand for network security products, intrusion detection, and prevention products.
Additional leading sectors include augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, storage management software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning, application management, and content management products. VR gaming software for the consumer market is also expected to offer good prospects in the coming years.
Despite significant staff shortages, the economic outlook of the Dutch ICT sector is good. The market benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the digital transformation of the workplace. The first quarter of 2023 accounted for over 552.000 ICT-professionals, which is 39% more than before the pandemic. However, the staff shortage remains. The demand for technology and advice is has slowed down but remains stable. In 2022, the ICT market was expected to grow by approximately 5 percent, slightly less than in the previous year. In 2023 however, the expected growth is down to 1.4 percent. Growth is mainly impeded by labor shortages. About 40 percent of ICT companies experience the shortage of personnel as a restraint on the possibility of growth.
In 2020, only around 17,000 graduates were available for 83,000 vacancies. The higher demand for ICT employees also led to higher turnover rates with peaks of 25 percent in 2021, which resulted from significant salary increases when employees changed to a new employer. Nevertheless, the ICT industry is still thriving in the Netherlands and ICT companies showed stronger growth in gross value added than the Dutch economy as a whole.
InfoSecurity Netherlands (Vhttps://www.infosecurity.nl/)
Trade show, seminars, and online matchmaking for IT professionals.
Trade association for the Dutch IT and telecommunications industry.
Philip Hammerstein, Senior Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service – The Netherlands
Philip.Hammerstein@trade.gov | +31 70 310 2416