Over 30 thousand jobs offshored

In the period 2014-2016, six percent of companies employing more than 50 people moved some of their business operations abroad. Most companies offshored administrative and management tasks. Over 30 thousand jobs were involved in this offshoring of activities. At the same time, one percent of the companies backshored their activities to the Netherlands after initial offshoring. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

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More than 500 companies with a workforce exceeding 50 employees offshored one or more of their operations. This occurred much more often in manufacturing (11 percent of companies) than in other sectors (4 percent).

Especially foreign parent companies moved operations abroad relatively often: around 1 in 5. Dutch companies were more place-bound with 3 percent engaging in offshoring of activities.

Companies engaging in offshoring, 2014–2016
 Engaged in offshoring (%)Did not engage in offshoring (%)
All companies
Other sectors4.495.6

One percent backshoring

One in every 100 companies with over 50 employees moved their initially offshored activities back to the Netherlands in the period 2014-2016. This happened twice as often in manufacturing. In the other sectors, however, backshoring did create more jobs, namely 250, than in manufacturing (130). The main reasons for companies to backshore their activities were insufficient quality of the locally provided products/services and higher costs than expected.

Over 250 businesses offshored administration and management

More than 250 companies offshored administrative and management positions, e.g. in finance, accounting and coordination. Around 220 businesses shifted (a part of) their core activity, production or supply of services to the market. This included factory jobs, for example, but also design or maintenance jobs for clients.

Number of companies offshoring activities, type of activity, 2014–2016
Administrative and management functions258
Core activity (production or services)221
ICT services90
Distribution and logistics90
Other supporting activities86
Marketing, sale of services, after-sales services78
Engineering and related services41
Research & Development27

Mostly manufacturing jobs offshored

The highest number of offshored jobs is found in goods manufacturing: nearly 18 thousand. In other words, there were fewer companies offshoring production but it involved more jobs. Over 6.7 thousand jobs were lost in administration and management and more than 5.2 thousand in services and supporting ICT services combined.

One-quarter of jobs offshored were for highly qualified people. Savings on wage costs were the main reason for companies to move jobs abroad. Offshoring not only resulted in job losses but also created new jobs. Around 850 new jobs were created in manufacturing while other sectors gained 2.3 thousand new jobs.

Number of offshored jobs per offshored activity, 2014–2016
 Number of jobs
Production of goods
(core activity)
Administrative and management functions6737
Supply of services to the market
(core activity)
ICT services2621
Marketing, sale of services, after-sales services576
Distribution and logistics576
Other supporting activities496
Engineering and related services458
Research & Development187

Europe is the largest destination

Nearly 70 percent of companies engaging in offshoring opted for another EU member state as their destination. One in five companies transferred activities to India, mainly in the field of administration and management, IT and service delivery. Aside from Europe, manufacturing companies preferred Oceania and other Asian countries (excluding India or China) for offshoring of production activities.

Destinations for offshoring activities, 2014–2016
 Share (%)
Oceania and other Asia11.4
Other Europe10.4
Rest of the world5.4
United States and Canada3.9
Central and South America2.1