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A recent study from Flemish Employment and Vocation Training (VDAB) revealed that there are virtually no job opportunities for workers aged over 50, a conclusion that is being challenged by the Belgian Federation of Staffing Agencies (Federgon).
According to figures from Federgon, the number and proportion of agency workers over the age of 50 has systematically increased in recent years. This means that, despite a shrinking labour market, opportunities for over 50s have increased. This is despite a number of competitive disadvantages such as higher labour costs.
In 2005, the number of agency workers over 50 was 18,257, representing 5.2% of the total agency workforce. In 2008, this number reached 24,790, equating to 6.5% of the agency workforce. Following the global financial crisis, the number of over 50 agency workers fell to 21,495 in 2009; however as a proportion of the workforce they rose to +6.6%, indicating greater resilience within the age bracket in a tight job market.
The most recent figures show that in 2012 there were 29,115 agency workers aged 50 or over, representing 8.3% of the total agency workforce. Over the past eight years, the proportion of the workforce comprised of agency workers over 50 has increased each year.