Small businesses in Flanders fear stagnating workforce after Brexit
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    Small businesses in Flanders fear stagnating workforce after Brexit

    Nearly one in seven small businesses in West Flanders believed their workforce would shrink as a result of Brexit. Credit: © Belga

    Less than 10% of small businesses in Belgium believe Brexit will impact their workforce, a figure that climbs among Flemish firms with over one in seven saying the departure will affect recruitment.

    A survey of 940 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Belgium showed that 9.4% of firms with less than a hundred staff members predicted the expansion of their workforce would slow down as a result of the divorce.

    “Few SMEs expect Brexit to have a positive outcome on their employment rate,” Annelies Rottiers, a consultant at the firm that carried the survey, said in a statement. “On average, nearly 6% say they expect their workforce to shrink as a result of Brexit.”

    A total of 5.6% of overall surveyed businesses said that they expected recruiting to slow down after Brexit, while only 2% said they thought they would recruit more.

    Throughout Belgium, SMEs in West Flanders believe their hiring practices would be the most impacted by Brexit, with over one in seven, or 13.6%, saying they expected recruitment to drop as a result of the process.

    By contrast, small businesses in Wallonia declared having a slightly more positive outlook of the impact of the UK’s departure from the bloc, with 3.6% among those surveyed declaring they expected a boost in employment as a result of Brexit.

    The survey also showed that a firm’s concerns about a shrinking workforce were higher among SMEs with at least 25 and up to 50 employees, with nearly 10% declaring they expected to scale back hiring.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times