Klippa conducted research on the main challenges of Dutch top executives in 2024. It turns out that many of them are struggling with the effects of inflation, lack of investments and labor shortages. How do they deal with this? And what do they expect from developments in AI?

More than 30% of Dutch executives struggle with labor shortages

Labor shortage is the main C-level challenge, pointed at by almost a third of respondents. The significant gap in availability of skilled labor is clearly impacting how Dutch companies operate.

One out of four decision-makers reported struggling with a lack of capital for investments. Scarcity is hindering growth and development opportunities in firms from the Netherlands.

One in four CEOs concerned about a lack of capital for investments

CEOs – who represent 60% of our respondents – saw the lack of capital for investments as the most significant current problem (25%). Labor shortage reached a close second position (23%).

High inflation created hardships not only for Dutch consumers, but for decision-makers as well, reflecting in 13% of responses. Rising costs have had a multifaceted impact on Dutch businesses, from direct operational expenses to broader market and economic influences

The lack of capital is almost twice as pressing in the Randstad

In the Randstad
Companies within the Randstad mainly struggle with a lack of capital for investments, which was the most-mentioned challenge (29%).

Outside the Randstad
Outside of the Randstad, only 17% of respondents pointed towards a lack of capital for investments as their main challenge.

Labor shortage challenges grow by 45% outside the Randstad

Outside the Randstad
Outside of the Randstad, the labor shortage has a deeper impact, with 42% of all surveyed executives reporting it as the main ongoing problem.

In the Randstad
Within the Randstad’s executive circle, 25% of respondents identified labor shortages as their primary concern. It’s the second most mentioned challenge.

36% of startups & scaleups are burdened by a lack of capital to invest

More than one-third of startups and scaleups struggle to secure sufficient capital for investments, essential for growth and product development (36%). Interestingly, none of the SMEs and enterprises mentioned this as a challenge, indicating they have more stable revenue streams.

SMEs and enterprises wrestle more with the lack of available talent. Almost half (47%) of managers from these organizations pointed at the labor shortage as their main problem.

Almost 80% of decision-makers trust AI will solve challenges

A whopping 78% of decision makers view AI and automation as powerful tools to at least partially address their main business challenges.

The technology can dramatically streamline operations and reduce human error, which in turn leads to increased efficiency and cost savings.

85% of decision-makers plan to increase investments in AI

Most respondents plan an overall increase of investment in artificial intelligence and automation in the near future.

More reluctance to spend exists marginally in the SME and enterprise categories where 20% responded “No”, as well as in the 50-59 and >60 age categories – 21% responded “No”.

29% of executives hesitate to invest more in AI due to lack of time & people

Time and personnel shortages are the main barriers to increasing AI investment budgets (29%), underscoring the struggle to allocate skilled staff and sufficient time amidst current commitments and labor shortages.

Additionally, 24% of decision-makers find the costs of AI/automation solutions to be a significant challenge, along with concerns about the technology’s maturity (16%), internal expertise gaps (9%), and resistance to new technological solutions (6%).

Almost 20% of executives plan to double their investments in AI

85% of C-level executives in the Netherlands are planning at least some increase in their AI/automation investments.

While a third of respondents (33%) are planning a strategic increase, between 20 to 40 percent, there is also significant intent to considerably raise investment.

In total, 17% of decision makers expect to increase AI investments between 40 and 80 percent, while another 17% say that they will more than double their investments in the technology.

About the research

Our dataset includes responses from 100 C-Suite Executives, primarily CEOs (60%) and CTOs (11%).They lead firms with an estimated annual revenue starting at $500,000 to over $1 billion.

We compare executive insights from companies of all sizes and Dutch regions, as measured by annual revenue, company type and headquarters location. We gathered data on key challenges, solutions, and the state of AI.
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