In the Brussels-Capital Region, 30% of employees do not have Belgian nationality, which is twice the national rate, with the largest share coming from France and Morocco.
Nowhere in Belgium is the level of international employees as high as in Brussels, where the share of non-Belgians in the labour market increased by almost a quarter in the past five years. The findings come after a huge survey of 28,500 companies was conducted by human resources service provider Acerta.
In the entire country, 14.8% of all employees are non-Belgian. According to Niko Smeets, Sales Director at Acerta Brussels, the large proportion of international employees in the region is a logical evolution given migration trends and the current labour shortage in Belgium, which is one reason to try and "recruit as widely as possible."
Of the total number of international workers, 16% are EU citizens and 14.4% from outside the EU; French and Moroccans are the most represented of all foreign nationalities. Italians, Poles, Romanians and Dutch also make up much of the city's international workforce.
Non-Belgians are active in almost all sectors, but are most likely to work in the food sector (53.4%), transport and logistics (42.7%) and construction (41%). This is followed by people working in the hotel and catering industry, the healthcare sector and the chemical industry.
Inclusiveness is key
Migration and the current labour shortage are not the only reasons why companies are hiring international employees. "We have also noticed that companies feel the need to reflect society," Smeets said.
He added that the diversity created by employing people from various countries not only "contributes to a greater innovative and creative capacity," it also helps businesses improve their competitive position, as it puts them in a better position to "identify and meet the wishes and expectations of customers."
- Unemployment continues to drop in Brussels and Flanders
- More than 9,000 cases of social fraud in Belgium in 2021
- 'Highest level ever': Record 62.2% of Brussels residents have a job
"A real win-win situation is created when the organisation works on inclusiveness. Where diversity is about the mix, inclusiveness is about involving everyone. It's about creating connection in an environment where everyone is allowed to be themselves and let talent shine," Smeets said.