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Excerpted from the Belgium Career Guide

Economic and Employment Outlook

Belgium is situated in the heart of Europe, at the center of its most densely populated and wealthiest region. The main regions are the Flemish region in the north (where Dutch is the primary language), the central Brussels-Capital region (where Dutch, French and German are spoken) and the southern Walloon Region (which is primarily French-speaking). Dutch, French and German are Belgium’s official languages.

Capitalizing on its geographic location, Belgium has developed a modern, technologically sophisticated economy based on private enterprise, and it has a well-developed transportation network and a diversified economic base in terms of industry and commerce. Because of its limited natural resources, Belgium imports a considerable quantity of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactured goods, creating sensitivity to volatile world markets. Its primary European trading partner is Germany, and it conducts approximately 75 percent of its trade within the European Union.

Key Industries

Belgium’s workforce is characterized by flexibility, quality and entrepreneurship. In order to meet the demands of globalization, the Belgian labor market is heavily service-oriented, with 75 percent of the working population employed in the service sector, approximately 23 percent in industry and the remaining two percent in agricultural enterprises.

Areas of Job Promise

Labor shortages vary widely from region to region (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital), but some generalizations about occupations in demand are as follows:

IT Software developers, project managers, programmers, engineers, analysts, database and network professionals
Engineering Civil engineers, industrial engineers, production engineers
Health Care Nurses (geriatric, palliative care and urgent care), doctors, geriatric assistants, physiotherapists
Construction Welders, roofers, electricians, specialized technicians
Technicians Specialized automotive, pharmaceutical, heating/cooling

Salaries

Belgium’s workforce is highly unionized, and the vast majority of companies (more than 90 percent) base their remuneration on sectoral wage agreements. Wages are automatically indexed to the cost of living inflation, and the rigidity in the wage system may harm international competitiveness in the long term.

The average annual salary in Belgium is 55,968 USD, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and the level has been relatively flat over the past five years.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the Belgium Guide.



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