Enterprise Technology in Energy: Benelux v Nordics
More often than not, Benelux and the Nordic countries are often looped into the same category— considered by the outside world as forward-thinking and well-developed European economies. While they share many general cultural and political similarities, there are some areas in which the two regions are divided. Surprisingly, Global Enterprise Partners has found the largest difference between the two in enterprise technology recruitment within the energy sector.
Global Enterprise Partners has a sizable client portfolio within the energy sector in both the Nordics and Benelux. Over the past several years, our recruitment consultants, who specialise in energy sector, have documented two trends that differentiate the two regions when it comes to ERP project delivery.
Language requirements are often among the most rigid requirements when it comes to finding the right consultant for an ongoing project— after all, they must be able to effectively communicate with their team.
Among our Dutch energy client base, the project language tends to Dutch, which can be restricting when it comes to finding specialists in niche areas specific to the energy sector. However, we have also found there is a relatively large talent pool registered in the Netherlands with experience in energy enterprise technology projects. Within the Netherlands alone, we have partnerships with 4,898 specialist enterprise technology consultants with experience in the energy sector.
On the other hand, the Nordics tend to have more open language requirements. While often Nordic energy clients note they would prefer candidates with knowledge of the local language (Danish, Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian), English tends to be the project language of choice. This makes sense when you consider that there are only 669 enterprise technology consultants with energy expertise registered between all four Nordic countries. The low number of available consultants is a strong element in driving Nordic energy clients to open their language requirements to attract consultants from outside of the Nordic region.
Another element that drives the differences between language requirements is the local versus global nature of ERP projects in each region. At the moment in the Netherlands, we see more localised projects, limited to deployment within the Netherlands. In this situation, because there is a wealth of local Dutch-speaking talent, there is no need to open language requirements. Among our Nordic clients there is more of a global or multinational scope on their ERP projects, which in turn, sets the common project language as English.
However, this is an element that may change as Dutch energy clients gear up for global projects or expand their partnerships to other countries outside of the Benelux region.
Given the number of ERP energy specialist within each region, one would expect that both regions would be able to easily source consultants for their projects. However, the catch comes when it comes to the question of payroll solutions for these freelancers.
In the Netherlands, this has been a hot topic for some years with the introduction of the new VAR DBA legislation. This legislation has, perhaps inadvertently, encouraged many clients that regularly hire freelancers to press their new contractors to work through a payroller in order to ensure compliance with Dutch law—this is particularly true in the energy sector. However, because of the delayed implementation of the law, freelancers themselves are reluctant to take on the additional cost of working through a payroller, preferring to wait for or take contracts with smaller clients, who are not yet implementing payroller requirements. While there are a wealth of candidates in this area, the payroller requirement creates a difficult candidate market to source for niche rolls. This will remain the case, until all companies on boarding freelancers implement this requirement.
In the Nordic region, an estimated 90% of employers require freelancers to work through payrollers for compliance purposes. Because the use of payrollers is now considered fairly standard, many companies offer benefits and retention schemes in order to compensate freelancers accordingly. Because of this, even non-Nordic candidates, who are not always used to using payroll services, do not hesitate to take on contracts with payroll requirements. Despite having a smaller pool of available candidates, they are more easily on boarded when the right candidate is found.
The ERP energy candidate market ahead
Language and payroll requirements have generated some large differentiators between the Nordics and the Netherlands when it comes to ERP project delivery in the energy sector. Specialists with niche expertise in enterprise technologies can be difficult to source in any market, however, companies can also respond by understanding these trends from an employment perspective.