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Belgium – Business cautious on temporary employment

24 April 2012

For the second quarter 2012, HR managers in Belgium anticipate a decline in temporary employment, according to the latest staffing barometer by the Federation of Employment Partners, Federgon. This follows February's stagnation of the Belgian staffing market, one of the largest in Europe, which saw temporary billing decline by almost -7%.

Business confidence in Belgium regarding temporary employment remains cautious. Almost 40% of respondents said they expected a decrease in the second quarter of 2012 when compared to the same quarter last year. Only a fifth (20.04%) were positive in their outlook, anticipating an increase in temporary employment for the second quarter while around 37% expected things to remain the same. 

When looking at quarterly developments, 27% of those surveyed anticipated a decline in temporary employment for the second quarter of 2012 from the first quarter of 2012. Again a fifth (20.71%) expected things to pick up again, anticipating an increase in temporary staffing levels for the coming quarter.  Around half do not expect major changes in the second quarter from the first quarter of 2012. 

The survey also found that HR managers have problems filling jobs with 40% saying they have had open vacancies for more than three months and 23% reporting they have had posts open for more than six months.

The barometer monitors employment prospects regarding temporary staffing in Belgium. It is based on a March survey which questioned 420 HR managers and general managers who make use of temporary workers. In total, these companies spend around €228.8 million on temporary staffing annually. 

Federgon currently estimates that, in 2010, a total of 520,000 people have been employed at least once as temporary workers in Belgium. It is mainly students aged between 21 and 25, as well as those aged between 31 to 45 years of age that make up around two thirds of the temporary workforce. The value of the sector currently lies at €3.762 billion.

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