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Belgium – Students put in more hours but temporary billings fall

29 October 2012

Staffing firms have seen weaker market conditions across Europe, impacting trading conditions in Belgium last month as temporary billings continued to shrink, new data shows.

In September, activity levels in the temporary staffing industry were still not able to meet those of last year. The number of hours worked by agency workers dropped by -6.5% when compared to a year ago.

This decline affected blue collar workers in particular as billings were down -10.6%. White collar workers noted a very small increase of +0.07% with billings essentially flat. The Belgian staffing market relies heavily on students and their contribution showed strong year-on-year growth of +26%.

Data from the Belgian federation of staffing agencies (Federgon) also indicates that temporary staff worked fewer hours in September when compared to August.

But this decrease was less profound at -0.17%, again impacting blue collar workers most (-1.3%), while white collar employees showed a +1.3% increase.

Head of Federgon, Herwig Muyldermans, said that initial indicators show that temporary staffing continued to record a “slight fall” in October, but official figures for the month will not be published until the end of November.

The Belgian staffing industry is one of the largest in Europe with sales last year reaching €4.2 billion. In 2011, the industry employed over half a million agency workers.

All figures are seasonally adjusted and the Federgon index reached 212.5 points in September 2012, down from 212.9 points in August.  The Index was set at a base of 100 in January 1995 and shows the level of activity in the temporary staffing industry in Belgium.

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