Workers with EU origins best positioned in Belgian labour market

The labour market position in Belgium is generally much better for workers with an EU background, Statbel figures show. The Belgian statistics office took the nationality of parents into account to define a worker's origin and linked that data to employment rates and occupational status.

The employment rate of native Belgians (aged 20-64) rose from 67.3 per cent in 2003 to 75.8 per cent in 2022. The employment rate of people with origins in older EU member states such as Italy or France has reached 70.9 per cent, while that of residents with roots in the most recent EU member states such as Poland or Bulgaria has risen to 76.4 per cent.

The employment rate of workers with origins outside the EU ranges from 58.2 per cent for workers with Turkish origin to 54.3 per cent for residents from sub-Saharan Africa and 51.3 per cent for people with origins in North Africa.

Statbel points out that the data comes from a sample that was extrapolated, so the margin of error is slightly larger. Background variables such as level of education or family situation also play a role in someone's position in the labour market, which were not included in these statistics.

Positive employment forecast

Prospects for those still seeking a job are good, HR company Manpower said. It expects activity in the Belgian labour market to evolve positively during the summer, while employers continue to face an unprecedented labour shortage. More than four in five Belgian employers are struggling to fill their vacancies.

The net employment forecast, the difference between the percentage of employers planning to hire and the percentage planning to shed staff, stands at +23 per cent for the second quarter. That is just above the European average (20 per cent) and below the global average (28 per cent), the company said.



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