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Jan De Nul

The Challenge

As a growing Belgian company the dredging and marine engineering group Jan De Nul is permanently looking for employees to join its fleet of dredging vessels and offices in Aalst. Searching for the right profiles is a challenge, one of the reasons being that with regards to engineers just 2,724 students embarked on an engineering course this autumn, a reduction of almost 3 % compared with last year. In the past twenty years the number of civil engineering students has fallen by 50%.
Jan De Nul wanted to make the company more attractive to potential employees and over the last few years has asked FINN to provide strategic advice during various projects with a view to optimising its employer branding. The challenge was to formulate a powerful message that potential employees could identify with, and to clearly communicate what it’s like to work at Jan De Nul.
Projects developed by FINN include:

  • The new jobsite (strategy & copywriting)
  • The book ‘Durvers en Doeners’ (Risk-takers and Doers) about the recruitment of the 500th engineer
  • A press campaign related to the recruitment of the 500th engineer

FINN also managed the content for diverse job folders and factsheets.

FINN’s approach

1. Jobsite

FINN decided to create a genuine 'Jan De Nul experience', thus providing potential employees with a highly accessible and transparent picture of what it is like to work at Jan De Nul. During in-depth interviews with around 15 employees FINN tried to identify what working at Jan De Nul really means: working on prestigious national and international projects, exploring new horizons, working with a wide range of profiles, continuous learning and acquiring considerable responsibility fairly quickly, working for a family business, etc.
For the first time a specific site for recruitment was created using these values. FINN developed testimonials for the jobsite based on the interviews, which together with selected photographs and films of Jan De Nul projects provided a good idea of what it’s like to work at Jan De Nul. FINN also offered advice about the recruitment site’s structure and was responsible for drafting and/or finalising texts for the website.

2. Book about the recruitment of the 500th engineer

In the summer of 2010 Jan De Nul recruited its 500th engineer: a unicum in Flanders given that no other Flemish company employs a greater number of engineers. Jan De Nul asked FINN to develop the concept for the book ‘Durvers en Doeners: de 500 ingenieurs van Jan De Nul’ (Risk-takers and Doers: Jan De Nul’s 500 engineers), which was published on the occasion of the 500th engineer’s recruitment.
In 18 interviews with Jan De Nul’s engineers FINN decided to highlight the entrepreneurial spirit and drive that is an intrinsic part of Jan De Nul. The interviews were constructed around the question ‘What is the greatest challenge that I have overcome with my team?’ Talent &Vision also used the interviews to produce films.

3. 500th engineer press campaign

The scoop of the 500th engineer was given to Jobat. FINN also issued a press release (‘Jan De Nul recruits 500th engineer’) to 750 Dutch and French-language journalists of the national, regional and specialist press (HR).


Since the jobsite’s launch in 2008 Jan De Nul has been named twice in a row by Randstad as the ‘most attractive employer of the year’ (2009, 2010). A survey of 10,000 Belgians revealed that the Jan De Nul Group scored exceptionally well in terms of job security, future prospects and a healthy balance between work and personal life. Today Jan De Nul is the only company in Flanders to employ over 500 engineers.
The press campaign related to the 500th engineer recruited by Jan De Nul was also a success: Jobat published an extensive article with excerpts from the book ‘Durvers en Doeners’ and quotes from recruiter Julie De Nul. Vacature published an online interview with one of Jan De Nul’s engineers. Radio 1, Ondernemers, the Krant van West-Vlaanderen and the Streekkrant also devoted news space to the subject.


Julie De Nul, Recruitment: “We started working on the brand new jobsite totally from scratch. As a result of FINN’s observations on our specific company culture and their experience with similar projects we achieved great results in a very short space of time. Working together was an extremely positive experience.