Software developer salaries on the rise in the Netherlands

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This article was originally published on .cult by Melina Zacharia and Ines Almeida. .cult is a Berlin-based community platform for developers. We write about all things career-related, make original documentaries, and share heaps of other untold developer stories from around the world.

In this report, we’re exploring developer salaries and trends in the Netherlands. How does the country perform against other tech hubs in Europe? Will it remain an English-speaking haven for software developers and data scientists?

2023 has been yet another year of growth when it comes to software developer salaries in the Netherlands. The average salary grew by 2.4%. In 2023, software developers were offered almost 63k per year. A conservative but steady increase when we look at the figures from the past five years.

Since 2018, the average wages for developers based in the Netherlands have seen a 12% increase.

In 2023, as in 2022, we can see that developer expectations didn’t match what companies are offering. However, the difference is less than 1%, meaning that software developers in the Netherlands really know their worth.

Here’s how average software developer salaries in the Netherlands look over time:

Netherlands – Developer salaries offered vs. expected over time
Source: Honeypot research – Developer salaries Netherlands

Salary breakdown the Netherlands

When we look at the wages for specific roles, we notice some interesting trends. We examined the roles of backend developer, DevOps engineer, frontend developer, fullstack developer, and tech lead.

Netherlands – Average offered salary by role

Netherlands – Average expected salary by role

Key takeaways:

  • Backend and frontend developers seem to earn the heaviest paychecks in the Netherlands, followed by DevOps engineers and fullstack developers
  • Tech leads earn around 87.5k per year, which is 4.3% more than what they’re asking for
  • DevOps engineers in the Netherlands make 8% less than what they’re asking for. That could mean this role isn’t very popular in the Dutch market yet

Salary by years of experience and role

We looked at salaries offered vs. salaries expected based on the most in-demand developer roles and years of experience. In the Netherlands, experience plays a significant role in salary benchmarking.

We specify 0 to 2 years of experience as a junior level, 3 to 6 years of experience as a mid-level, while with 7+ years of experience, you’re considered a senior developer for most companies.

For software developers based in the Netherlands, experience matters. That’s why we see an over 40% increase in expectations between junior and senior backend developers.

Netherlands – Average offered salary by role and years of experience

Key takeaways:

  • The best-paying role and the role with the highest salary growth is the role of backend developer. Even for junior roles, there’s a gap ranging from 12% to 15% between backend and frontend/fullstack developers
  • There’s an up to 30% increase between junior and senior roles. More specifically, the salaries significantly increase when you go from junior to mid-level developer
  • Expectations are low during the first few professional years, but for mid-level to senior roles developers expect more, even more than what they’re offered

The highest-paying roles in the Netherlands are on par with the most in-demand roles.

Most interview invitations in the Netherlands by role

The demand for tech roles in the Netherlands looks a bit different than the demand in Germany.

In 2023, the most in-demand specialty in the Netherlands is the role of backend developer. To come up with this data, we specified demand by the number of interview invites extended for each role.

Netherlands – Most in-demand roles in the Netherlands

Backend is at the first position with 41% of all interview invites. Frontend follows with 36%, while fullstack developers gather 23% of all contact requests.

So, it looks like Dutch companies are showing a preference in developers that are specialized in specific tech ends. While the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ fullstack developers are less popular.

The Gender Pay Gap in the Netherlands

The gender pay gap has increased… yet again.

In 2022, the gender pay based on average salaries offered in the Netherlands was at 6%. In 2023 the gender pay gap is closer to 8.3%.

This disparity in offered salaries follows a discrepancy in salary expectations by gender. Female and/or female-identifying developers in the Netherlands have lower salary expectations than their male counterparts.

Netherlands – Average offered and expected salary by gender

Key takeaways:

  • There is an 8.6% difference in salary expectations.
  • Salary growth is also affected by gender-based double standards. In 2023, the average offered salary is €62,400 for men and €57,400 for women. In 2022, the offered salary for men was €60,600, indicating a 3% increase, while for women it was €56,300, indicating an increase of 2%.

Salary by gender and role

The negative trend continues when we break down salary offers based on gender and role.

Netherlands – Average of offered and expected salary by role and gender

In this chart, green indicates the offered salary is higher than the expected, while red indicates that the salary offered was lower than developers’ expectations.

Men receive and expect higher salaries across all roles in the Netherlands. For frontend developers specifically, the gender pay gap is as high as 13%.

Salary by language & location

Language and location don’t play a huge role in salaries offered based on talent location.

Key takeaways:

  • Software developers coming from inside the EU have a bigger chance of receiving higher salaries
  • Developers who live locally and speak Dutch don’t have an advantage when it comes to salary offers. They also have among the lowest salary expectations. Developers who speak Dutch are people who were born in the Netherlands or who have been living there for many years and likely don’t know what salary benchmarks look like in other countries

Netherlands – Average salary offered and expected by talent location

Dutch companies offer the biggest paychecks to people from inside the EU but outside the Netherlands. The higher offer could be explained by the fact that developers outside the country would need an extra financial incentive to move, or, that many come from countries where developer salaries are even higher.

Developer demand affected by location

Developers based in the Netherlands receive 45% of all interview invites by Dutch companies. While developers outside the EU receive 34%. This means that the demand for developers is very high. Accordingly, Dutch companies have broadened their scope inviting people for interviews even if they live outside the EU.

Developer salary in the Netherlands by company size

Middle-size companies (50-249 employees) offer the best salaries to software developers in the Netherlands.

At the same time, companies with more than 250 people offer lower average salaries. This could be interpreted by the fact that larger, well-known companies are relying on brand authority and popularity. They know that developers will want to work with them — even if they receive higher offers from smaller companies.

Most in-demand technologies

We’re also pleased to share the most in-demand tech stacks in the Netherlands.

Netherlands – Most in-demand tech stacks in the Netherlands

Based on contact requests to developers specialized in different tech stacks, we were able to discover which technologies are most in demand in the Netherlands. According to our findings, Dutch companies are looking for software developers proficient in Javascript, React, Typescript, Docker, and Nodejs.

Methodology and Conclusions

We used salaries specified by hiring companies during the interview process on the Honeypot platform as our key data source.

Our 2023 data is averaged from 2022 + 2023 (28.5k data points) to ensure more accurate responses. The expected salary data is determined from developer profiles on the Honeypot platform, while offered salary data is based on a company’s initial offer during the interview process. It does not reflect the final negotiated and contracted amount. Unusually low or high salaries are removed to avoid extreme outliers, as well as interview invites that do not include significant information, like position, title, or company location. We use an external library to determine gender based on the individual’s first name.

We hope this gave you a better idea of what software developer salaries look like in the Netherlands. Don’t miss out on our other reports — we’re exploring developer salaries in different parts of Europe including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain. You can also download the full 2023 Developer Salary Report here.