“1 in 4 employers have trouble filling vacancies”

Around a quarter of Belgian employers says that they are unable to find enough suitable staff to fill vacancies. The figures come from a survey of 751 employers carried out by the temping agency Manpower. 24% of those questioned said that there is “a shortage of talent on the Belgian labour market". This is up 11 percentage points on last year.

In the three years between 2011 and 2014 the survey showed a fall in the percentage of employers that said that there was a lack of talent on the Belgian labour market. However, Manpower says that the consequences of the financial crisis served to mask an underlying problem of a shortage of suitably skilled labour on the Belgian employment market.

The rise in employers saying that they are unable to find suitable staff is evident in Flanders (up 14 percentage points to 26%), Wallonia (up 9 percentage points to 18%) and Brussels (up 9 percentage points to 26%).

Manpower’s list of jobs for which it is difficult to find suitable staff has remained unchanged over the past decade and is made up of skilled blue collar workers, sales staff, technicians, accountants, finance professionals and drivers.

51% of the Belgian employees that said that they had trouble filling vacancies said that this was due to a lack of technical know-how among job-seekers. Meanwhile, 35% cite a lack of applicants and 27% a lack of experience among those that do apply.

Philippe Lacroix of Manpower Belgium told journalists that "There is a growing polarisation on the labour market between candidates with the kind of qualifications employers are looking for and those either without any or with too few qualifications.”

"The shortage of talent is a real issue that could undermine the competitiveness of our companies. The shortage will only worsen as the economy starts to pick up and the structural developments in and reforms to the labour continue”, Mr Lacroix added.
 

A third taking no action

More than a third (34%) of those questioned said that they had taken no action to tackle the issue of the talent shortage.

Of those that are doing something 27% are using flexible rostering, 21% use innovative recruitment methods and 17% work to develop the skills of their existing employees.