During the first quarter of this year a total of 312,883 people were employed by the companies that Agoria represents. Since 2005 20,000 new jobs had been created at Agoria’s member companies. The federation says that the increase in the number of jobs in the technology industry had come about thanks to measures taken by the previous federal government such as the tax shift. However, by the second half of 2019 the measures had already lost their effect on job creation.
During the first half of this year as the coronavirus crisis took hold 3,200 jobs were lost in the technology industry. Agoria predicts that the job losses will continue until 2022 by which time a total of 12,000 jobs will have been lost. It expects things to start picking up again by the second quarter of 2022. However, this is conditional on a number of measures being taken. Agoria’s CEO Marc Lambotte stressed the importance of measures being taken as “We have seen in the past that we have sometimes missed the opportunity to do so”.
With this Mr Lambotte is referring to the financial crisis in 2008 when 28,000 jobs were lost in the industry. "Then we were unable to get back up. Things flattened out and went back down hill (until 2015). The reason for this was simple; our companies were not competitive any more compared with companies internationally”. In Germany and The Netherlands employment in the technology industry has been growing since 2011.
Agoria says that it is of the essence that the government ensures that Belgian companies remain competitive. This can be done by keeping down employment costs and providing more life learning opportunities for staff. “The individual right to training should become an obligation”, Mr Lambotte said.