Belgium’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 is about $ 550 billion, ranking 20th in the world. The unemployment rate for 2022 is 5.5%, below the EU average of 6.7%, but with significant differences between regions of the country. Annual GDP growth has been 1.5% in recent years, so it is still possible to find work in Belgium today.
Seraching for jobs in Belgium
Searching for jobs in Belgium, it is best to contact the public employment offices. Each region has its own office where you can view current vacancies, upload your CV and request advice and information about work.
As far as language is concerned, in Belgium a different language is spoken depending on the region, so each business must be contacted in the appropriate language. This is true for both the small business and the large multinational. For example, Flemish is spoken in the Flanders region, French in the Wallonia region, while Flemish, French and even English can be used in the Brussels region. However, you should know that while Brussels is the de facto capital of the EU, which means that thousands of European Community officials from all over Europe work there, this does not mean that the inhabitants have switched their native language to English.
So, if you speak only English, you cannot take any other job apart from IT or in some multinational companies, except for the usual low-skilled jobs in hospitality, cleaning and few other fields.
There are three official languages in Belgium: Flemish (Dutch), French, and German.
- Flemish is spoken in Flanders (in the north of the country). About 60% of the country speaks Flemish
- French is spoken in Wallonia (in the south of the country). About 35% of Belgians speak French
- German is spoken by the German community in Belgium (about 1%).
- In the Brussels-Capital Region, the population is generally bilingual. (French / Flemish
Most in demand jobs in Belgium
The service sector offers the most employment opportunities, especially in the fields of:
- law and legislation
- banking and finance
There are good opportunities in the manufacturing sector, e.g. textile industry, engineering, chemical industry, etc. The number and type of vacancies varies greatly depending on the region. In Brussels, for example, almost all vacancies are aimed at professionals in the service sector.
If you want to know which professions are most in demand in Belgium, you can look at the lists of professions in which there is currently a shortage in Belgium. These are lists compiled by the regional employment agencies and are constantly updated.
- Le Forem, shortage in in Wallonia
- DAB, shortage in Flanders
- Bruxelles Regional, shortage in Brussels region
- Ostbelgien, shortage in German region
Belgium has one of the highest salaries in Europe. In 2021, the average gross salary was €3,650 per month. Currently, the minimum wage is €1,658.
Work culture in Belgium
The duality that exists in all areas between the Francophone and Flemish regions is also found in the workplace, with a pyramidal structure and a strong hierarchical character typical of the French zone, while in the Flemish region a more open and less hierarchical working model prevails.
There are also notable differences in communication style. The Flemish tend to keep their communications and emails short and to the point. Walloons consider this impolite. Their emails and messages are eloquent and detailed, with long introductions and respectful greetings.
I would say that Belgian work culture is generally a mix of German, French and Anglo-Saxon work culture. Depending on where you work (in which region: Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels) and in which company (industry, public sector, tourism, international company, etc.) there will be more or less nuances.
If you want all the information on how to work in Belgium I suggest you read the article: the guide to working in Belgium