General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey 2020

On October 9, 2020, GCN announced in a 60-page English edition the results of the 4th General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey 2020. This survey is held every other year and is one of the largest benchmark surveys among General Counsel (GCs) in the world. A record of a quarter of all GCs in the Netherlands cooperated and this has yielded surprising results. This year, for the first time, many questions about salary (components) and personal development have been included.

One of the most striking conclusions is that in 2020 almost half (46%) of all GCs in the Netherlands are women. In 2018, that percentage was significantly lower (38%), while in 2016 only 31% of GCs were women. The gender gap is therefore disappearing rapidly at GCs in the Netherlands. Moreover: unlike in various other professional groups, male and female GCs in the Netherlands earn about the same. Nine out of ten GCs work full time.

Some other notable results are:

  • 60% of GCs believe that the position belongs in the Board of Directors. In 2016, only 42% thought that was a good idea.
  • Three quarters of GCs experience the workload as heavy to very heavy. Incidentally, the majority of the legal departments have grown in the past two years.
  • One third of the GCs are of the opinion that they have insufficient budget available to bring the department to the desired level.
  • Above all, GCs want practical and clear advice from external service providers, such as law firms and legal tech providers: 66% of GCs list ‘practical and clear advice’ in the top 3 selection criteria, compared to only 53% 2 years ago and in 2016 for only 36% of GCs.
  • 56% of the GCs indicate that they want to follow a general management training such as the General Counsel Executive Program in the coming years. Previously, the emphasis was on substantive legal training.
  • 61% of the GCs expect new technological solutions to be deployed on a fairly large scale in the next two years. and they will mainly invest in contract management systems, E-signatures, contract assembly/drafting software and Legal spend/cost tracking software in terms of technology.

You can download the full General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey 2020 here.

The results of the General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey 2018 were presented during the General Counsel Fall Conference on 11 October 2018. Click here for the English summary.

In 2016 all questions of the pre-test in 2014 have been rephrased to allow for comparison: what are the developments? And we have gone even further: a number of challenging propositions has been added and notable differences between men and women and between listed and unlisted companies were highlighted.

2014 | Start General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey
In Anglo-Saxon countries, GCs are regularly surveyed worldwide. However, for various reasons, the results are hardly usable and representative for the situation of GCs in the Netherlands. At most it indicates trends, but they are rarely concrete enough. That’s why, in 2014, GCN developed and launched the large-scale General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey for the first time, in close consultation with a number of GCs. It was an instant success: more than a quarter of all GCs in the Netherlands participated at the time, giving a very representative view of the results.

The results are compiled in a clear report which is made available free of charge to all GCN members and to all GCs that have participated.

For further information about the General Counsel NL Benchmark Survey, please contact the management of GCN:
Michiel van Straaten,, tel: 00 31 6 1483 7202
Petra van Hilst,, tel: 0031 6 4106 9433

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