KU Leuven labour expert Luc Sels concedes that this is a paradox: "In the first place this is due to the mismatch between what employers are looking for and what engineers can offer, especially if they did their schooling some time ago. In a high-tech environment things change quickly and so do the skills required. Digitalisation and use of robots is being felt."
One in three engineers has been out of work for over a year. Over one in three are over 50. Luc Sels: "Employers prefer to recruit young people who recently finished their studies. Older engineers may have tons of experience, they are also more expensive."
To address these issues the VDAB is joining forces with the universities and employers to offer schooling and in-job training.