Job Opportunities with NGOs and Non-Profit Organizations

Many expats would like to work for an NGO or an international non-profit organization in the Netherlands, the majority of which are located in The Hague and Amsterdam. Examples of such employers are: Oxfam Novib, Hivos, International Court of Justice, OPCW, UN, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch and War Child.
However, due to the fact that subsidies and budgets are being cut, staff turnover is low and the number of available vacancies is currently limited.

Still there is demand for the following experienced professionals:
• Finance professionals
• Fundraisers
• Marketeers (with experience in Direct Marketing and Loyalty programs)
• ICT staff (both entry-level and experienced candidates)
• Scientists and Researchers (agri-food, medical, environment and legal).
So, if this is your background then there are opportunities for you – even if you do not master the Dutch language.

On the other hand the need for HRM, Communication and Administrative staff is very limited, while a command of the Dutch language is required for such positions. Competition from other candidates is tough and without relevant experience you are sure to be turned down for one of these positions. Most successful candidates start in an HRM or Communications position after they have done an internship within the organization.

The position of Program Coordinator has been quite popular these last few years, too. Employers receive many applications upon advertising such a vacancy. However, to stand a chance, you need at least three years of experience, or more – as well as country-specific experience if the position is with a development organization.

For all other available positions within NGOs and non-profit organizations it is a definite plus if you speak French (besides English), have budgeting experience, and have worked in several countries.

Some expats choose to start out as a volunteer and then try to find a paid job within the organization or in a related organization. In our experience this strategy works in about 30% of the cases we have supported over the last 10 years.

Another way to get into such on organization is to try to find an internship – it is striking how high the number of available internships is with NGOs and non-profit organizations is, in relation to the number of available vacancies. This almost always a sign that the sector (or individual employer) is very popular as a workplace. And it is a sign that competition is tough (expect 100+ candidates for each vacancy). However, your chances of success are limited if you are not a recent graduate, as this is what they prefer for these positions.

Employers prefer full-timers but it is at times possible to find a job for four full days a week with NGOs and non-profit organizations. Should you prefer to work part-time for 10-24 hours per week, then only certain positions within Administrative departments are available, however, keep in mind that these are not positions for which you need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Peter Kranenburg
2011 Autumn

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