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  • Writer's pictureVincent Spruit

Permanent Job VS Freelancing: Navigating Data Talent

Updated: Jan 10

Bye bye freelancers, welcome permanent hires! In a world of uncertainties, the Dutch data landscape is a fascinating puzzle. Let’s take a look behind the curtains at what companies prefer to pick for their data teams—perm employees versus freelancers!


Market Insights:

Things got wild with companies building their data dream team's using freelancers and consultants. But now, the plot’s shifting—many are aiming for a balanced mix of perm professionals and freelance support.


Insights & Balance:

Secret surveys reveal the big players leaning on freelancers and consultants, aiming for that sweet spot of 60-80% permanent and 20-40% freelancers for the ideal team chemistry.


However, it's out of balance now. According to our recent study among managers in the data industry, approximately 75% of companies with over 1000 employees have at least a quarter (or more) of their teams consisting of freelance data professionals. The challenge lies with the 25% of companies that have 75% or more of their teams consisting of freelancers.

Challenges on the Radar:

The COVID era revealed hurdles—wonky data quality and integration issues! Before diving into advanced analytics, data science, and AI, companies are calling in Data Engineers to fortify their data foundations. In our recent study among Managers in Data we found that the two top challenges that make up for 65% of the biggest challenges are:

1.      Data quality and reliability (38%),

2.      Data integration and interoperability (27%)

Remarkable Stories:

Ever heard of Schiphol airport's data team? Impressive—160 strong! But here's the twist—two-thirds are permanent employees. Finding experienced Data Engineers at that scale? Quite the challenge! In the summer of 2023, they attracted a new CDO, Maarten van den Outenaar, to try and solve this among other challenges.


Other big names like Plus, Eneco, Enza Zaden, Stater, Enexis, APG, Abn Amro, Brenntag, PostNL, Boels, NN, Spar, Triodos Bank and Achmea are also on the lookout for permanent Data Engineer superheroes.

Freelancer Chronicles:

Newbie freelancers soared high with their first gigs! Earning the big bucks right off the bat. But as the hiring trend leans back to permanent roles, some might return, unsure about the stress and uncertainty of solo journeys.


As Dutch companies navigate the data landscape, permanent Data Engineers take center stage. A sturdy data foundation is crucial for innovation. While the dance between permanent employment and freelancing continues, the quest to build top-notch data teams unfolds.

What are your thoughts? Let's discuss in the comments!


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