About 34.4% of Belgian SMEs want to take on staff during the first quarter of 2019, according to a survey conducted by the SD Worx human resources service provider among 685 businesses. The rate has topped 33% for the fifth consecutive year, SD Worx said in a press release on Friday.
It noted that 66% of the envisaged recruitments represented increases to current staff. Last year the corresponding rate was 74%.
Only 7% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are thinking of laying off staff and more than half (56%) plan to replace the dismissed workers.
There is a striking decrease in planned recruitments by SMEs in Brussels, which plunged from 44.7% last year to 22.3% this year, while in Wallonia, new hires planned by businesses went from 33.4% to 38.6% in the same period, SD Worx noted.
Almost three-quarters (74%) of the new hires would be for permanent posts. In most cases (67%) these are full-time jobs or jobs that provide employment more than two-thirds of the time.
Finally, 20% of the SMEs are looking for freelance or seasonal employees.