Despite the currently high number of vacancies in the country, the average employee in Belgium is not more likely to consider changing jobs than they were eight years ago. With all the talk of the 'great resignation' phenomenon during the Covid-19 pandemic, workers in Belgium have opted to play it safe in their professional lives.
According to a study by Randstad Research among 3,016 employees, Belgians are not in a hurry to change jobs, even with the high number of job vacancies currently available. They are much more confident that they will find another job, both internally and externally, than in 2014 - when a similar study was conducted.
"As yet, there is no question of 'the great resignation' in our country. Whether our labour market will start moving more in the near future depends primarily on the people who indicate that they are open to change," Jan Denys, spokesperson and labour market expert at Randstad, stated.
Just under half of the respondents (48%) said they believe they can easily find a new job internally, while some 59% believe they can do so easily externally, which is an increase compared to in 2014 when the results were 36% and 46% respectively.
This means that individuals who can easily change jobs, both internally and externally, have increased from 24% to 37%.
Intentions don't always result in action
Denys stressed that previous research has shown that intentions do not necessarily lead to action or employees leaving their jobs.
The latest study showed that the sense of identification (58%) and attachment (52%) with their place of work, as well as the overall intention to stay with the current employer for the rest of the career (73%), have remained largely unchanged since 2014.
The overall intention of people in Belgium to stay with their current employer for the duration of their career has remained virtually unchanged at 73%.
Of those who are more inclined to stay, slightly more than half (57%) are seen as definitely not moving jobs – which decreases to 44% among the under-40s and generally increases with age as well as company size. In parallel, only 6% of respondents are sure they will leave their posts, and for 25-29 year-olds the figure is at 12%.
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In between these two extremes, there is a large group of employees (37%) with no real urge to leave, but might be open to a future career change. With the current employee scarcity, this group will be the main target for competing employers and recruiters.
The latest survey also looked into the use of career advice and guidance services by employees, and found that barely 20% of all employees indicated they have used this service. The most important reason for not doing so appears to be a lack of interest.
Overall, 6% use such services internally, while 8% seek guidance externally, which also leads to employees leaving a company in more cases. Internal advice more often leads to them changing function internally (35% with internal advice, 21% with external).
"The least we can conclude is that there is still a lot of room for improvement in this area, both internally within the company and with external providers," Randstad stated.