Annette Mosman took the reins as CEO of APG in March. She is hoping to gain as many inspirational insights as possible in the first months of her new job. That is why she is holding 25 meetings on her hike from Amsterdam to Heerlen. This was a journey through the Netherlands of Tomorrow, with a different person accompanying her on each leg of the trip. Her companions were colleagues, but also people from outside APG, like Tuur Elzinga, chairman of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation.
The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Pink: they all performed here. The Malieveld was their outdoor concert hall. That said, protesting trade unions also regularly take over the “Haagse grasveld,” the famous field in The Hague. There’s no doubt that Tuur Elzinga has also left many footprints in that field. His history with the trade union movement stretches back to 2002, when he was appointed as a policy officer at the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation. Almost twenty years on, he is now chairman of the trade union and employers’ and employees’ organizations since March 10 of this year, to be precise. He also represented the Socialist Party (SP) in the Upper House of the Senate for nine years. This means that he is as familiar with the green polders of the Netherlands as the green benches of the Senate.
Getting fat on the bones
Elzinga believes that things need to change in the Netherlands. In his opinion, the pandemic is a tipping point: the market-driven approach that has gone too far must make way for a revaluation of society. The pandemic has revealed how indispensable certain sectors are to our society, like health care, education and childcare.. “It is precisely those vital sectors that have fallen behind in recent years,” Elzinga reckons. Schools, hospitals and kindergartens have been run like businesses, and cut backs have been the order of the day. This has led to a shortage of ICU capacity, protective equipment and staff during the pandemic. “We need to get fat back on the bones again; we need proper reserves. That may not be very efficient, but it stops the whole of society from grinding to a halt when times get tough.”
Fears for the future
The pandemic has also widened the gap between the poor – those with few prospects – and the rich. The Netherlands has become more prosperous in recent decades, but not everyone has benefited from this. The flexible labor market has put permanent jobs at risk and wages have not risen enough in line with profits. “Inequality has widened, and imbalances have occurred,” Elzinga tells us. Not to mention the climate crisis, from which there is no escape, both literally and figuratively, as we face extreme weather, forest fires and floods across the planet. Elzinga points out that this leads to unrest. “People are concerned about their own future and that of generations down the line. As a country, your sole aim may be to make as much money as possible, but what kind of home will we be leaving to our children and grandchildren if social cohesion is under pressure and our planet is being eroded?”
Plus another one million permanent jobs
Fortunately, the pandemic has also prompted politicians – from left to right – and some employers to realize that the Netherlands of Tomorrow demands change, believes Elzinga. He believes that we can start rebuilding the country without delay. We already have the blue print: broad-based prosperity for the whole of the Dutch population. That is the approach underlying the Social and Economic Council’s draft advice that trade unions and employers presented together this spring: a package of measures for the new cabinet. First and foremost, the labor market must be reformed: we must return to more permanent contracts, instead of flexible employment. Elzinga would like to see at least another one million permanent jobs. “People need job and income security. They want bread on the table, they must be able to pay the bills and have enough disposable income for their leisure time.”
The climate change price tag
Broad-based prosperity also calls for greater investments in public funds for vital sectors, like health care and education. For example, better terms of employment must stop the trend of having unmotivated employees: it may be more enticing to get out of bed in the mornings and take up the task of teaching if wages rise and work-related pressure is reduced. More must also be invested in the quality of public services, such as the Employee Insurance Agency, the tax authorities – here we have in mind the childcare benefit scandal – and yes, also pension administration. Elzinga says, “Better performance from institutions may also help to close the current gap in confidence.” For the long term, there needs to be substantial investment in tackling climate change. “We have to stop procrastinating and start addressing the issue. The longer we kick the can down the road, the higher the price tag will be.” So we need more funds to accelerate the energy transition, while at the same time being socially accountable by helping people who lose their jobs to get other work.
Strong government required
Given the long societal wish list, the government can no longer keep its distance, Elzinga believes. Since the eighties, the maxim in The Hague has been: strong market forces, small government. “A market is a good for ensuring that there is enough to round, but you can’t leave everything to market forces,” Elzinga reckons. “We are now faced with the mess that the mantra of liberalization, privatization and deregulation has left us in.” Rebuilding the Netherlands calls for a stronger state, one that actively helps shape the society of the future through public participations and targeted investments, and legislation and regulation must ensure that market participants accept their social responsibility. This need for a government with a firm hand on the rudder does not stop at the borders. For example, Elzinga welcomes the G7 plan for a global minimum tax rate of 15 percent for multinationals. It will make tax avoidance through tax havens more difficult because it will put an end to competition among countries that lure foreign investors by having the lowest tax rates.
It is also crucial to have international regulations that curb the influence of Big Tech and Big Data. Elzinga adds, “Big tech companies are capitalizing on data that we as consumers are producing ourselves. They are using existing digital infrastructure, without giving anything in return.” The same is true of multinationals that are getting patents for innovations that they were not solely responsible for conceiving. After all, their smart employees are educated at publicly funded universities and draw on the body of knowledge that our knowledge-based society has accrued in centuries past-. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. “Data, knowledge, but also for example raw materials and energy sources such as the sun and wind and ultimately our entire planet: it belongs to all of us. What gives a handful of companies the right to claim ownership? Why should managers and shareholders be allowed to become wealthy beyond description from it, while employees and the rest of society have to make do with the crumbs?” says Elzinga.
I hope that one day it will no longer be necessary to strike
“Give employees control”
The pyramid must be turned upside down. That doesn’t call for revolution; instead it calls for a radical change in direction, through gradual, democratic means, according to Elzinga. He believes that the first tentative steps down this new path have been taken. Governments are slowly starting to take back their traditional role, companies are taking more responsibility for their environment and consumers, citizens and major investors are more inclined to hold them to account. The next step is to give employees and society a real say, Elzinga argues. “'Give those people who come up with all those innovative ideas a voice, the ones that do the real work, who are the actual rightful owners of companies’ products and services: all of us, in other words. Who’s the boss? Who decides? As it stands now, they are managers and shareholders; in the future we should all be able to be in charge.”
From shareholder return to social gains
In recent years, Elzinga has been conducting the negotiations for the pension agreement on behalf of employers’ and employees’ organizations of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation. It’s a historic agreement; designed to keep old-age provisions affordable going forward, without abandoning the principle of solidarity. “In the new system, the contributions you have accrued are reflected more directly in your own pension accrual, but we will still ensure that people who are not so fortunate in their careers will also be able to have a good pension, and we will spread the risks across the generations.” That said, Elzinga believes that the pension discussion is far from over. If interest rates remain this low in the coming years and investment returns structurally decline in the future, as predicted, then it will not be possible to keep the promise of an indexed-linked pension and the trust gap in society will widen. Pension funds could then take the next step: from shareholder return to social gains.
Pension benefits in kind?
Elzinga explains, “Pension funds should examine the needs people have later in life. Do they then only need money? Or would they rather have a nice place to live, good care and quality of life? Invest in that directly as a pension fund; put pension money into new kinds of housing for senior citizens, good care for the elderly and restoring social infrastructure, so that it is to hand when people need it.” This would be a type of pension in kind. And why only invest in provisions for old age? Pension funds can also be used to improve today’s society. Here we have in mind investments in the tight housing market – which mainly affects young generations – or in good education, for a robust Netherlands of Tomorrow. Elzinga adds, “Pension funds have major assets and that means they bear a huge responsibility, for the Netherlands of today and the future.”
An end to strikes
During the pension agreement negotiations, the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation, together with the National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands and the Trade Union for Professionals, halted train traffic for a day to apply pressure for a slower rise in the state pension age. What does Elzinga think: will there still be strikes in the Netherlands of Tomorrow? “I suspect so. In the meantime, there will be conflicts of interest between employers and their workforces. But I hope that one day it will no longer be necessary to strike: if employees are given a real say, they can be part of the decision-making process and conflicts of interest will become a thing of the past. If you are the boss, there’s no need for you to strike.” So the Malieveld of the future will be solely for the successors of The Stones and Coldplay, in other words: the ultimate festival grounds? Elzinga laughs, “Yes, that’s where we’ll gather to simply have a good time, do stuff we enjoy or celebrate together, for example, the great pension system that we have in the Netherlands.”
How do you deal with work and money for now and in the future? Do you live from day to day or are you deliberately planning your financial future? And do you arrange ‘later’ yourself or are you a member of a pension fund?
Marielle van Ramshorst works as a manager at a location organizing daily activities, is the owner of a dance school and a trainer.
Marielle van Ramshorst (35)
Profession: manager at a location organizing daily activities, dance teacher and trainer/coach
Weekly works: more than 40 hours (in non-corona times)
Income: between 1875 and 4375 euro per month
Savings: 13,000 euro
Pension is arranged? Partly
How did you arrange your pension?
“I am a member of a pension fund through my employer. In addition, I have created a pension pot on my savings account. That account holds some funds, but I have not yet delved into the purpose of that money.”
What kind of work do you do?
“I manage the team working at a location organizing daily activities for people who, for any reason, are unable to perform paid work. Besides that, I am the owner of a salsa dance school where I also teach lessons and I started working last year as an independent trainer and coach. In that latter capacity, I help single women looking for a relationship to find out why they are still single. I met a lot of ladies at the dance school struggling with questions in that area and that’s how the idea was born. I use plenty of movement during my trainings because that’s the way to experience and feel things differently than if you would only look at it rationally.”
So, you started your coaching business in times of corona?
“That’s correct and it’s not the most ideal time. I was only able to finish one training in full so far. The next one was scheduled for January, 2021, but we had to postpone that training as a result of the corona restrictions.”
How many hours do you work a week?
“Twenty hours per week at the location organizing daily activities. Usually about twenty hours per week at the salsa dance school as well, but that work has come to a standstill due to corona. I spend approximately four hours per week on the training and coaching activities and a bit more when a training is about to happen. My goal is to provide a training once every three months.”
That is more than fulltime.
“Yes, but it doesn’t really feel like work. I work long hours, but a large part of it involves a hobby that got out of hand.”
How much do you earn?
“Around 1875 euro net per month at the location organizing daily activities. My income varies somewhat at the dance school. At the moment, I earn approximately 300 euro per month which used to be around 1000 euro per month. A training earns me between 1000 and 1500 euro, depending on the number of participants.”
Are you satisfied with that income?
“Yes, it’s enough to make ends meet. I believe it should be possible to earn more money offering coaching, but it’s a difficult time for those activities right now. Of course, you earn a lot less having three participants in your training instead of allowing twenty people to join.”
How much do you pay on fixed costs?
“Around 1400 euro if I add up my mortgage, electricity, internet and insurances.”
What else do you spend your money on?
“Spotify, Netflix, that kind of things. My girlfriends and I also have a pot for ‘fun things’ in which we deposit 20 euro per month. We organize something fun to do when that account holds enough funds. A day to the sauna or a wellness resort for example, with an overnight stay in a cottage surrounded by nature and great food. It feels good to have already saved that money, so you no longer miss it.”
How much money do you have on your own savings account?
“Around 13,000 euro. That really makes me happy, I never had that much money saved before. I probably still have to pay a large part of it to the tax authorities though.”
Do you think about your old age often?
“Not really. I realize things have to be arranged, but I always worked a lot more hours in paid employment previously and never had to worry about my pension. The topic is discussed sometimes in the business club I meet once a month. Expressions such as ‘pension gap’ and ‘annual margin’ are uttered which makes me think: Well, that’s really interesting, but I don’t put my thoughts into action. I really have to start making arrangements this year.”
How much pension would you receive on a monthly basis should you be 67 years old now?
“Good question, not a lot I presume. I always quickly put aside the letters I receive on that topic. Wait, I will get one of those letters… Right, I have been accruing pension since 2002 and the statement says I will receive a gross amount of 18,000 annually. I believe my annual income is much higher right now, so it doesn’t sound as if that payment allows me to do plenty of fun stuff. It also doesn’t frighten me because I didn’t expect it to be a huge amount. This amount will not be enough to make ends meet, but I have hopefully paid off my mortgage by then which makes a bit of a difference. And I will also receive a state’s pension (AOW) of course.”
What could be arranged better?
“I still have to arrange a pension plan for my own business. I want to find out the options that are available. What is a wise thing to do in my situation, being partly in paid employment and partly self-employed? I really have to delve into the topic much more.”
APG can also call itself Top Employer Netherlands in 2021. The title has been awarded to the pension provider by the Top Employers Institute for the fourteenth time in a row. This organization conducts independent research worldwide into good employment practices, HR policy and employment conditions.
Compared to 63 other certified organizations, APG scores well in the field of leadership and workforce planning, i.e. deploying the right employees with the right skills in the right place.
Pay gap caused by less steep career path women
Equal work has to be equally rewarded. That was the reason for closing the appeared salary gap between men and women at APG in one go in June 2019. This required a salary increase for 125 women. And to prevent a new gap from arising, APG then conducted an extensive investigation into the causes. The explanatory factor appears to be that women at APG are less often and less quickly promoted, meaning their salary also increases less quickly. HR director Marloes Sengers provides an explanation.
APG want to close the salary gap of 2.2 percent durably and fundamentally. The organization therefore had to assess the underlying causes. Both quantitative and qualitative (interviews) have been conducted to find out the reasons behind this pay gap.
What were the results of the investigation?
Sengers: “First of all, it appeared that this inexplicable difference in pay does not arise upon commencement of employment. In other words: women enter APG with the same starting salary as men. Second, the difference also doesn’t appear to arise as a result of the annual performance reviews. Women are assessed equally well compared to men. However, where we do notice a difference is when it comes to promotion. Female APG employees appear to be promoted less often than male employees. That is less the case though for women who are working under the leadership of a female manager. Moreover, women appear to be promoted less quickly than men, so it takes longer for them to get a promotion. And in the latter case, it doesn’t seem to make a difference whether they have a male or female manager.”
What is the conclusion APG draws from these results?
"The conclusion we draw is that the salary path of women runs less steep because their career path runs less steep.”
Shouldn’t you rather talk about a career or promotion gap instead of a salary gap given these outcomes?
“Yes, you could call it that in a way, and the one is related to the other. But that was not the primary focus of our investigation. We focused on explaining the pay gap of 2.2 percent between men and women, and that resulted in this difference in promotion perspective.
How do you explain that less steep career path of female employees?
“We are safe to say that this is not caused by the promotion or internal recruitment policy. That policy is no different for women as it is for men. However, we were able to conclude based on the interviews that a man is more likely to consider himself a good candidate for a higher position, compared to a woman. Women are less focusing on getting promoted. On the contrary, women who get promoted often indicate to be asked for or made aware of the higher position. Women are less likely to feel qualified for a certain career move. Slightly exaggerated: where a man already dares to apply if he meets four out of ten job requirements, women don’t even consider themselves to be sufficiently qualified if they meet nine out of ten.”
APG has closed that gap of 2.2 percent last year by raising the salary of 125 female colleagues. Could we say that they received a salary increase for a promotion not made?
“In a certain sense you could indeed say that they were compensated for the difference in promotion perspective. That has been rectified one time. And because it is so important for this not to happen again, we conducted this follow-up investigation.”
What will APG do with these results?
“We take this very seriously, especially because we also want equal pay for equal work in the long term. Anything different simply doesn’t fit the APG we want to be. In order to close that gap structurally and durably, we have, to begin with, entered into a dialog internally. We present a few questions, such as: why is it that women with a male manager are less likely to get promoted than women with a female manager? What’s the reason behind it? Based on the answer to those kinds of questions, we look at possible interventions, aiming at awareness among both women and managers. We are already paying a lot of attention to equal opportunities. Internally, we are organizing unconscious bias trainings and the senior management commits to the theme. We encourage managers to apply diversity to their teams and to be a role model in that respect. Moreover, we explicitly include the theme succession planning, promotion and attracting talent. As of 2021, we will apply a new HR cycle in which we also want to include the conversation on future perspective more explicit.”
This week is National Vitality Week. That means: a lot of attention for vitality and work satisfaction. Younger and older employees sometimes have very different views about the latter. Overall, what are the biggest differences? “People in their thirties think anyone who works more than 40 hours a week is nuts.”
Work satisfaction is a flexible concept. Generation X (born between 1955-1970), has a different understanding of it than the millennials (1985-2000), or Gen-Z (2000-2015). The older generation, to a greater extend, lives to work, while younger people really value their private life and their lifestyle. Generation strategist Marjolein Risseeuw knows all about this. She helps teams to bridge the differences in the workplace, gives online and offline workshops (corona-proof), and wrote the book Zó X! Hoe de Nieuwe Leiders Talenten in Organisaties Verbinden (So X! How the New Leaders Connect Talents in Organizations). We asked her what the views of people in their thirties and fifties are regarding the various aspects of their professional lives.
Sense of duty and authority
30: “Young people don’t want a hierarchy; they want equality. They want to use their talents. They want trust and freedom. Inspiration instead of commands. Not a job for life, but to make an impact. They’re happy to do something for you, but you have to gain their trust first.”
50: ”They want power, but they also need to show the capacity for empathy, find out what occupies the minds of young people and not just issue orders. They still lean heavily towards procedures and meetings. They make deliberate decisions based on much more information than people in their thirties. They see this as being committed to the company. Lifetime employment is still a thing for many in this age group.”
Young people want freedom, trust, inspiration and equality
30: “They value the internal more than the external. Company cars are out. They are increasingly opting for more of a self-employment existence and temporary contracts. An employment contract is no longer a status symbol for them; the work atmosphere is much more important. They are looking for an inspiring work environment.”
50: “Older people, particularly people in their sixties, are often the breadwinners. They need their salaries to support the family. The traditional nuclear family, where (usually) the husband works to pay the mortgage and the wife (usually) takes care of the kids. There is a bit of a reversal around age 50; many women are gradually becoming the breadwinners at that age.”
30: “They think anyone who works more than forty hours a week is nuts. They really manage their own work time. For them, work and private life are divided 24/7. They are ambitious enough, and they also want personal appreciation, but only when the time is right for them. I call it restrained freedom. To start with, they’re already working three or four days a week, instead of five. They use their leisure time much more concretely, for example, by fundraising for good causes, or other social-societal initiatives.”
50: “They feel that if they’re working forty hours a week they’re doing well. The work-private life balance is very important to 80 percent of them and they keep the two separated. They often see leisure time as time to spend with the kids. There is a difference between men and women. Men who go and watch a soccer match on a Wednesday afternoon call that leisure time during work, whereas mothers will take a day off for it. In this way the woman is often a thief of her own wallet.”
Working from home
30: “People used to move for their work, but that’s no longer happening. Young people think it’s enough that they are available and accessible. Self-direction and personal development are very important to them. With the great increase in working from home, currently, we are seeing that they are developing some physical and mental issues; the traditional mouse arm is back. They really need to protect the boundaries of the work-private life balance. When they’re working from home, they need to learn to take a step back from their work.”
50: “In the past, many senior managers believed that working from home was not possible. They wanted coworkers to be absolutely available, so that they could just walk over to their office for a meeting. That has really changed since corona. Now they like working from home, particularly because of the freedom. They do need very clear goals and a strong footing. Phone contact is very important to them; they like to hear a voice.”
Retraining and further training
30: “They choose a company for the development opportunities they will get there. But, because of their individualism, they keep having to motivate themselves. You have to offer them an environment where they can easily learn and develop themselves.”
50: “They like coaching and many seniors are good at it too. They certainly have a degree of curiosity to keep learning. But it does have to fit in with their frame of reference. Among people in their sixties we see less capacity for self-reflection; after all they have hardly ever done any coaching.”
30: “They look at retirement very differently than people who are now in their fifties did when they were in their thirties. Young people are mostly focused on how things fit into their lifestyle and definitely not on their retirement. They switch jobs often and get a lot more satisfaction from social projects. Only the ones that already have a family and a mortgage are thinking a bit more about their financial future.”
50: “Twenty years ago they were much more focused on their career planning, salary and steady job to pay the mortgage. That also included a contribution to their pension. And if you changed jobs, they used the term pension loss. Young people are not familiar with that term.”
Work satisfaction: what exactly does that mean, now and in the future? We asked Roxy and Rob, two people from different generations.
“Certainty, hard work and enjoyment”
Roxy van Dijk (27) is a consultant/mortgage broker at Viisi.
“Work satisfaction to me is first and foremost certainty That includes a good salary and benefits. Next, self-development and work culture are very important to me. At Viisi, you have the freedom to pick up other work in addition to your position. Working hard and celebrating successes together are part of that culture here. We are all there for each other when it’s busy, but also for personal challenges. I obviously have a long way to go before I retire, but I’m consciously working on my pension. Purchasing my own home is a good step. I also contribute to an additional pension plan through Brand New Day on my own. But it’s also very important to me to live in the moment and enjoy life. Sometimes it takes a bit of exploring to find the right balance.”
“Going home feeling satisfied at the end of the day”
Rob Monissen (59) is personal aide in social care at Koraal.
“Work satisfaction is the conviction that you’re doing something that helps others. It also means you have nice coworkers and that you go home feeling satisfied at the end of the day. In practice, this means that it varies from day to day and it depends on a number of factors. Although my work gives me a lot of satisfaction, I am looking forward to doing things I enjoy, when the times comes for me to retire. I will combine this with volunteer work, as much as body and mind will allow it. There are things that I’m already looking forward to now. The count-down has begun, despite the fact that I have a varied job right now.”
A new group of trainees will start at APG on October 1st. And despite the current situation caused by the corona crisis, the vacancies for this traineeship have been unfulfilled since April 1st. The feisty procedure takes a few months to complete. Hans Rademaker, starting as a trainee himself in 1987 at Van Lanschot Kempen, meanwhile holds the position of Chief Fiduciary Officer and is a member of the Management Board of APG AM. In addition, he oversees the traineeships.
What does a traineeship at APG Asset Management involve?
“This is a two years’ program where trainees sign up for a certain process, for example at Portfolio Management, Operations & IT or Finance & Risk. They carry out four assignments in these two years, which means they get to know APG pretty well. Not only the way in which we work, but also our standards and values. Apart from the substantive knowledge required, a great deal of attention is also paid to personal development. They go through the entire process with the other trainees who joined us this round and such group often continues to be tight for quite some time. The program results in valuable contacts for the remainder of your career at APG. This means we have very powerful people at the end of those two years who we are happy to employ as colleagues.
The ultimate goal is for these trainees to be employed by APG after two years and this job guarantee is offered by us. This assures the trainee that he or she doesn’t have to apply for an internal vacancy once the traineeship has ended. We obviously pay close attention to the match between the needs of the trainees and those of the organization when offering a job.”
Why should a young professionals choose APG?
“APG offers amazing opportunities as the trainees gain experience at one of the largest pension providers in the world. Specifically, when you look at Asset Management, the trainees will be dealing with portfolio management on a scale only a few organizations of this size have. We conduct business with parties belonging to the top of the world, ourselves included. As a trainee, you are allowed to get a taste of the Champions League of Asset Management. That may sound a bit arrogant, but that’s just the way it is.”
What type of trainees are we looking for?
“We are looking for people who, first of all, are able to identify with the social role of APG. Someone who preferably engages in commercial goals is not a right fit for us. The people at APG are ultimately working for our participants and, besides good financial returns, we also have the obligation to realize a good social return.
In addition, and no less important, the trainees must be able to help us digitalizing further. Affinity with digitalization is a must to move forward in the digital world. We have to achieve a situation in which everyone can work anytime, anyplace, anywhere at any device and with the same information. Not only for us, but also for our clients. That calls for an entirely different way of handling information. Take, for example, annual reports and news articles: instead of analyzing these manually, we want to start the process of using algorithms to scan the annual reports and other news articles after which the particulars are presented to us. That has to be something a trainee is interested in and he or she must have the competence to contribute to similar initiatives.
Motivation, passion, interest and drive are just as important as a good education and good basic skills. If you are a digital illiterate, it will become very difficult to keep up and to make a valuable contribution.”
What does APG itself want to achieve with this?
“One of the goals we are also looking to achieve with the trainee program is more diversity in the broadest sense of the word. Not only the ratio between men and women, but also the ratio between young and old is important. We also strive to employ people from different cultures and so it’s very convenient that also English-speaking trainees from different countries and cultures are more than welcome at Asset Management.”
What would you like to say to future trainees, do you have a tip?
“My advice is: invest in yourself during the trainee period. Don’t expect to be handed a great job on a platter without having to work for it really hard. I always say that you also have to perform certain chores, show endurance and have patience to eventually end up in the position you strive for. And I don’t mean that disrespectfully. Every job will involve tasks that need to be done and that nobody really likes. But by taking on also those less desirable tasks, you can learn a lot and are able to prove yourself. And if you do, I’m sure you will make it!”
APG has been named Top Employer Netherlands for the twelfth year..
APG has been named Top Employer Netherlands for the twelfth year. The award is only given to employers who demonstrate that they offer the best career opportunities, organizational culture, working conditions, development opportunities and working conditions. And we're proud of that
This year APG scored particularly high on leadership development and career opportunities. Wondering about the career opportunities at Top Employer APG? Go to www.werkenbijapg.nl.
There’s a lot of talk at the moment in the media and the political world about variable compensation at APG. We´d like to offer an explanation about the developments, background and coming changes on this subject.
Variable compensation at APG only for investment company employees
Partly due to social discussions held earlier, APG decided, together with its stakeholders, to adapt its remuneration policy. Since 1 January 2016, APG Group no longer offers any variable compensation for the vast majority of its over 3,300 employees. Only some employees in the Asset Management business unit qualify for variable compensation. That business unit also has offices in the United States and Hong Kong, where variable compensation constitutes a larger share of overall compensation than at APG in the Netherlands. For the compensation-of these employees abroad, a balance is sought between what is acceptable in the Netherlands and what is typical in the local job market and thus necessary for binding good employees to APG. The level of the variable compensation is therefore higher abroad.
Investments made as much as possible by own employees in order to save costs
APG Asset Management’s policy focuses on making investments as much as possible using internal professionals, firstly in order to have tighter control over the implementation and secondly, in order to keep the costs of investments as low as possible for our clients and their participants. For this we have to attract and retain qualified employees and therefore assume relatively higher wage costs, but in so doing we save substantially on the costs compared to external implementation. This requires a remuneration policy that fits the local job markets - which happen to be two of the world´s most important financial centers.
In 2016 APG achieved a net return of over € 40 billion
The reason why APG also has offices abroad and wishes to invest as much as possible internally is to be able to achieve the maximum return for participants. In 2016, for the pension funds on whose behalf it invested, APG Asset Management attained a net return of more than € 40 billion, which directly benefits the participants of those funds. Good investment results in turn have an impact on the level of the variable compensation that is paid out. The net return obtained for the funds ABP, bpfBOUW, SPW and PPF APG over the past five years (2012-2016) amounted to more than € 164 billion.
Variable compensation in 2016 virtually equal to 2015
Over 2016 the variable compensation for employees of APG Asset Management amounted to € 31.5 million euros. Because for the most part this concerns employees in the foreign offices, fluctuations in the dollar’s exchange rate have an impact on the amount of this compensation. Measured in local currency, the relevant compensations are in line with 2015.
Further tightening of variable compensation
Partly in connection with the social discussion on variable compensation, APG is currently looking at whether the bonuses in the Asset Management business unit in the Netherlands can be further tightened.
ZZPs (Self-Employed Person without staff) hardly make use of the tax scheme designed to make pension savings more appealing. Independent entrepreneurs not making extensive use of this scheme means they miss hundreds to thousands of euros in tax credits. This scheme is worth considering at incomes exceeding 1,000 euros per month. Over 70% of the ZZPs is not aware of this scheme. This is apparent from online surveys of ZZP Pension, conducted among 200 ZZPs in late September.
Not aware of pension solutions
In the survey, ZZPs indicate they do not know much about the various pension solutions. Only 15 percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed assesses their own knowledge on this theme as ‘good’. A vast majority of ZZPs (70%) is not or hardly at all aware of the so-called annual margin scheme. Within this scheme, it is possible to use an amount for supplementary pension accrual. This amount can subsequently be deducted from the income in the tax return. Of the independent self-employed and freelancers surveyed, 29% makes use of this scheme, among others via ZZP Pension.
Click here to read the full press release on the ZZP Pension website (only available in Dutch).
About ZZP Pension
ZZP Pensioen (ZZP Pension) is initiated by Stichting ZZP Nederland (ZZP Foundation Netherlands), Zelfstandigen Bouw, FNV Zelfstandigen and Vereniging Platform Zelfstandige Ondernemers (PZO-ZZP) and Loyalis. These organizations have joined forces in Stichting ZZP Pension with the objective of encouraging pension accrual for and by self-employed people employing no personnel. ZZP Pension is a non-mandatory retirement pension, including the accrual phase up to retirement date and the pension benefit / annuity process. The participant personally determines the pay-out period of the pension scheme and how much or when the premium amounts are paid in. This scheme’s competitive edge are its life cycle accrual and its low cost, which is comparable to the cost of a group pension scheme. ZZP Pension offers the participants insight into the value of their accrued pension through an online portal.
Visit www.zzppensioen.nl for more information.