Though the war in Ukraine prompted an exodus of civilians to neighbouring and other EU countries, the gender imbalance is stark, with many men obliged to remain in Ukraine to join resistance forces.
As a result, the number of Ukrainian women workers in Belgium has grown substantially in the last year, according to a study carried out by the human resources agency Acerta.
Women accounted for almost 70% of workers from Ukraine in Belgium in June – 44.2% more than a year earlier. The increase for men was 25.8%, Belga News Agency reported.
The data, which surveyed 345,000 workers in service among over 40,000 private sector employers, found that Ukrainian workers are mostly employed in services (30.7%), manufacturing (22.2%) and trade (17.4%).
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As a result of the special temporary protection status put in place by the EU for those escaping the war (which grants Ukrainians access to the labour market), there are now 38% more Ukrainian workers in Belgium than last year.
However the proportion of Ukrainians within the Belgian workforce remains relatively small – 0.14%, compared to 0.10% last year.
"Before this, these workers could only work in Belgium if they had a work permit, for example as highly skilled workers or in a profession in short supply," Acerta stated.