Urgent action needed to meet Belgian employment target of 80%

Urgent action needed to meet Belgian employment target of 80%
Credit: City of Brussels

The Belgian High Council for Employment has warned that increased efforts will be needed to reach the government’s target of 80% by 2030, warns a report published on 4 July.

The advisory group, made up of experts and representatives from each of Belgium’s regions, states that there are urgent issues that must be addressed in order to reach the goal. “We want to express a sense of urgency,” states the Vice-President of the Council, former minister Steven Vanackere.

Despite record levels of employment across the country following Belgium’s speedy recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still burning issues in the labour market that must be addressed.

The report notes that the shortage of professionals in vital areas of the economy is “worrying.” Many companies are struggling to recruit, especially for crucial fields.

A recent study conducted by Brussels regional employment agency Actiris has noted that there are over 100 critical fields which are struggling to hire staff. The former minister stated that there is a structural deficit of assets on the Belgian labour market.

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Employers are also struggling with Belgium’s unique wage indexation system, which automatically adjusts incomes with inflation and other economic factors.

Most significantly, the report concludes that, at the current rate, Belgium will miss its 80% employment target in 2030. Currently at around 70%, the experts believe that Belgium will achieve just 73.5% by 2027 under the current conditions.

In order to remedy the increasingly sluggish employment growth, the council suggests enacting immediate reforms in the labour market, such as employment taxes, in order to make positions more attractive.

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