A third of gifted Dutch are unemployed: study

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About a third of the estimated 300 thousand gifted Dutch are unemployed, according to a study by the Dutch institute for gifted adults IHBV. Many gifted people - people with an IQ over 130 - want to be constantly challenged, something that is not always possible in the work place, according to the study, Trouw reports.

Of the 300 thousand gifted Dutch, about 100 thousand are successful entrepreneurs, artists, politicians or scientists. Some 100 thousand have "normal" jobs and the rest are unemployed. "In principle, the gifted can do anything they wish. The possibilities are enormous", IHBV president Rianne van de Ven said, according to Trouw. "But that does not mean that they all want to. Some gifted are very happy with a job as a truck driver; nice and autonomous."

The IHBV talked to a number of super smart, unemployed people in the Netherlands for this study. They often blame their own negative traits for their unemployment, according to the report. These include things like restlessness, perfectionism, not knowing what they want and never learning how to make an effort. 

Other reasons for the respondents gave for quitting or losing their jobs included "everything going to slowly. I was bored. There were no career opportunities. My manager could not see what I can do". Some have difficulty with authority. The researchers found this unsurprising. "The chances are very good that they are smarter than their managers. They have to learn how to deal with that."

The IHBV hopes that this study will prompt the government to provide more information on gifted workers. According to the researchers, it is in the interest of both gifted individuals and their employers that both their strengths and weaknesses are known.