Liège, Hainaut and Brussels among weakest regions in Europe for employment

Liege, Hainaut and Brussels are among the weakest regions in Europe in terms of employment, while West Flanders, East Flanders and Limburg are among the best, according to the results of a study by the IESEG management school of Lille. The report concludes that raising the employment rate should be at the top of the new government's agenda. 

The study examined the employment rate among 25- to 55-year-olds in 241 regions in Europe. Flanders has an employment rate of 86.7 per cent for that group, Wallonia 75.0 per cent and Brussels 74.2 per cent. That puts the figure for Belgium at 81.5 per cent, behind 22 other European countries. Only Italy, Greece, Spain and Romania are doing worse.

The difference between regions is large in Belgium: the Flemish provinces score remarkably better than the Walloon and Brussels provinces. West Flanders, for example, with an employment rate of 90.1 per cent, is the sixth best of the 241 regions surveyed in Europe. East Flanders (89.0 per cent, 17th place) and Limburg (87.4 per cent, 48th place) also score very high.

Economic problem

In Wallonia, Walloon Brabant scores best (83.4 per cent, 140th place), but some are at the bottom of the rankings. The worst score is for Liège, which with an employment rate of 71.5 per cent is only 225th out of 241 regions. Hainaut (72.5 per cent, 220th place) and Namur (78.5 per cent, 191st place) also record very low scores. A similar situation for Brussels, which comes 212th with 74.2 per cent.

The study further highlights differences according to country of origin and age. The employment rate among people born outside the European Union working in Belgium is a lot lower than among people born in Belgium, and Belgium has an extremely low employment rate among people aged between 55 and 64, 57.8 per cent, compared with 75 per cent in the Netherlands and 74.6 per cent in Germany.

The study concludes that the employment rate in Belgium is far too low and that this is a major economic problem for the country.


A union member stands in front of a wall made with beer bottle racks to block the entrance of InBev plant in Jupille, Liège, during a strike © BELGA PHOTO MICHEL KRAKOWSKI

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels