Belgium is a developed country situated in Western Europe. The economy of the nation is the most advanced one in Europe. The government has taken advantage of its geographical location in the continent and established a diversified commercial and industrial base. The sophisticated transportation infrastructure has enabled the country to incorporate its industries with its neighbors. The economy of the country is characterized by a highly productive workforce, high GNP (Gross National Product), and high exports per capita. Belgium's nominal GDP ranks the 25th highest in the world.
Being one of the six founding members of the European Union, Belgium strongly supports an open economy. Different industries that largely contribute to the nation's economy are textiles, chemicals, steel, pharmaceuticals, food processing, electronics, machinery fabrication, and automobiles.
Overview of Belgium
Population: 11.6 Million
GDP: 513.09 Billion USD (FY 2020)
The economy of the nation is heavily service-oriented. The pandemic has impacted Belgium’s economy a lot. GDP growth has reached 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Even in the first quarter of the year, the growth curve is roughly flat. It has been forecasted that the GDP will rebound in the second and third quarters of 2021. The annual GDP growth of Belgium is forecasted to reach 3.9% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022.
Most available jobs in Belgium are for the skilled workforce within the services sectors. The predominating industries in the nations to accommodate the workforce are finance, international institutions and businesses, estate agencies, social services, education, and public health. Here the unemployment rate is about 6%, and the main reason behind this issue is the ongoing skill shortages, particularly in the engineering and IT industries.
A brief glimpse of industries
- The Belgian government introduces multiple training programs to upskill the workforce with the latest engineering and IT skills to bridge the requirement gaps.
- To alleviate the downturn in the construction industry, the government will invest in public building projects and the civil engineering industry and increase the availability of land by the central administration.
- To tackle the long-term unemployment issues, the government has introduced multiple skill-based training programs for the youth.
- The government has provided relaxation on the amount of social security contribution and tax of the employees.
- To deal with the COVID consequences, the government has relaxed the registration rules in the National Unemployment Office and announced a monthly compensation of 70% of the previous salary.
Cost of living in Belgium
The cost of living in Belgium depends on the location, the type of industry dominant in that area, taxation policies, transportation, amenities, etc. A residential area is the main factor that determines the cost of living of a person. The following table shows the average cost of living in Belgium.
A Breakdown of the Average Living Cost in Belgium
Salary structure for various roles
The following table represents the average annual salary of various sectors in Belgium.
Cost of renting
The average house rent in Belgium is $ 800 – 1000 per month. But the rental amount may vary depending on the location. The living cost in an urban area is higher than living in a rural living space.
Your cost of living in Belgium depends on your location
Belgium is divided into three highly autonomous regions –
- Flemish Region (Flanders) – the northern region of the nation, populated with Dutch-speaking Flemish Community.
- Walloon Region (Wallonia) – the southern part of the nation, the residence of the French-speaking Community
- Brussels-Capital Region – the smallest region, and most of the population are Dutch-speaking. This is the wealthiest region in terms of GDP per capita.
The top sectors that are expected to hire in Belgium in 2021
Top Skills in Belgium
The job market in Belgium is very competitive—language skills are the top requirement for recruiters. Multilingual workers or those who can speak at least two of the country's official languages and English have a huge chance of gaining employment.
Being an industrial area, the Flanders region in the north, Brussels, and the nearby regions have most of the service and high-tech industries. The southern portion of the nation has coal and steel manufacturing industries.
There are plenty of job opportunities for fresh graduates in multiple industries, including:
- Processed food and beverages
- Transportation equipment and motor vehicle assembly
Top Skills City-wise Occupation-wise
Being the nation's capital, Brussels has the headquarters of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and both are hiring a large number of employees with multiple language proficiency. This city also offers employment opportunity in:
- Steel wires
- Food retail
- Vehicle distribution
- Materials technology
Antwerp, the capital of Antwerp Province, is a coastal city and offers job opportunities in multiple sectors like Shipping and delivery, electricity generation, diamond industry, etc.
Ghent is another port city of Belgium and an ideal location for job seeker in industries like
- Loading and packaging of products
- Foreign investment
- Export business
- Food processing
Charleroi has many electrical engineering-based industries. Here multiple job options are available related to the production of iron, steel, glass, and chemicals industries. Liège is the most important city in the Walloon region. Multiple companies have their headquarters in this city. The city offers a huge job opportunity in industries like –
- Mechanical industries (Aircraft engine and Spacecraft propulsion)
- Space technology
- Beer and chocolate production
For any employment program, hiring cost is one of the vital factors. The cost of hiring depends on multiple factors, including the cost of living in a particular city, overall expenditure, etc. When planning to hire employees for your organization, you also have to consider the cost of the screening process, interview processes, onboarding costs, training costs, and so on. The total sum of the recruitment process is relatively high for any organization.
Employment Laws in Belgium
- During the recruitment process, the employers must comply with various procedural rules and observe the legal prohibition of discrimination on numerous grounds.
- Employers need to provide recruits with an induction program.
- Though Belgium does not have a consolidated employment law code, multiple statutes are there to meet for legitimate employment. The most relevant laws to consider in this topic are:
- Employment contracts (it covers matters such as various forms of leave)
- Feasible and user-friendly work ( it covers issues related to working time, training, and leave)
- Combating certain forms of discrimination
- Combating discrimination between men and women
- Workers' wellbeing at work ( it covers health, safety, and harassment issues)
- The principle of non-discrimination against part-time employees
- The principle of non-discrimination against fixed-term employees
- Temporary agency work and employee leasing
- Employees' annual leave
- Work regulations
Apart from the laws mentioned above, employers also need to consider following rules during recruitment.
- Minimum Wage Act
- Work Safety Law
- Social Security Law
- General Data Protection Regulation
How Can Skuad Help You In Hiring in Belgium?
Hiring in a foreign country is always complicated—a huge amount of paperwork, legal precautions, and formalities can make the hiring process much more difficult. If you are planning to hire in Belgium, you can consider Skuad to help you with your recruitment process.