Just like 34 other companies that are affiliated to the Brainport Talent Center, ASML is mainly focussing on foreign countries when attracting new employees. That is highly necessary, says senior vice president HR Harry de Vos from ASML. “The Dutch universities are simply not big enough. The supply of talent, especially in our field, is therefore insufficient.”

There are currently 88 nationalities working at ASML, which means the language used on the campus in Veldhoven is English. “On average we hire 150 new employees a month, of whom 30% to 40% come from abroad.”

De Vos, who’s also chairman of the Brainport Talent Center, notices a change among his foreign employees. “They used to be expats: people who came for the job, but left after a short time. Nowadays we prefer calling them international knowledge workers, because you can see more and more people who come here with the intention to stay.” Just as well, because recruiting and educating a new employee, especially when from abroad, costs tons of money. “We prefer to keep that money within our company.”

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The appeal for a foreign talent lies in three areas, De Vos notes: “The job has to be fun, there has to be a pleasant life to be led and the education for the children has to be good. If one of these factors is missing, we have a problem.”

But language is also important. De Vos: “It’s really incomprehensible that still not all health services are provided in English.” De Vos sees bilingual education as an absolute necessity. “In fact, if it doesn’t happen, the companies will take it up themselves. Naturally, that is a lot less effective.”

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.