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One third of Brussels workforce is non-Belgian, survey shows

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Worker in a tyre specialist shop, replacing a tyre on a car. (BELGA PHOTO HERWIG VERGULT)
06:27 14/04/2022

One third of people working in the Brussels-Capital Region do not have Belgian nationality, which is double the percentage for Belgium, Bruzz reports.

Every year, more people with a nationality other than Belgian are employed in Belgium, according to a survey of 2,100 Brussels companies undertaken by HR company Acerta. The share of non-Belgians on the Brussels labour market has risen by almost a quarter over the past five years, to 30.4 % in 2021. This is twice as much as the national percentage of non-Belgian employees (14.8 %).

Approximately half of the non-Belgian employees in the Brussels-Capital Region come from an EU country. Most originate from France, Poland, Romania and the Netherlands. Of the non-EU citizens, most employees in the Brussels business community have a Moroccan passport.

The increase in the share of non-Belgians on the labour market is taking place in almost all sectors, but the number differs between the sectors and the growth is not the same everywhere. The sectors with the most non-Belgians are the food industry, transport and logistics and construction.

According to Acerta, the fact that more employees with a different nationality are active in the Belgian labour market is a logical evolution, given the rising level of migration. The labour shortage also forces companies to look beyond their own national borders to recruit new staff.

"We also noted that companies have the need to be a reflection of society,” said Niko Smeets, the sales director at Acerta Brussels. “In addition, diversity contributes to a greater innovative and creative capacity. It only becomes a real win-win situation if the organisation also works on inclusivity. Where diversity concerns the mix of people, inclusivity is about involving everyone. It's about creating connections in an environment where everyone can be themselves and let talent come into their own."

Written by Nick Amies