Employment rate (i41)

  •  17/10/2022
  • objective 
  •  assessment 

In 2021, the employment rate in Belgium was 70.6%. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must reach 80%. This objective will not be reached by continuing the trend since 2000 (data available in November 2021). The employment rate is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Employment rate - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 20002005201020152020202120252030
observations65.866.567.667.270.070.6----
trend and extrapolation (November 2021)65.166.267.268.169.970.371.472.3
objective 203080.080.080.080.080.080.080.080.0

break in series: 2001, 2005, 2011, 2017, 2021

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30 or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 23/05/2022); FPB calculations.

Employment rate - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 1993199520002005201020152016202020212021//19932021//20162021//2000
Belgium61.261.465.866.567.667.267.770.070.60.50.80.3
EU27----65.566.867.869.170.172.373.1--0.80.5
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: BE in 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2017, 2021; EU in 2021

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), 1993-2020 LFSI_EMP_A_H, from 2021 onwards LFSI_EMP_A, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 23/05/2022).

Employment rate by region - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 199920002005201020152016202020212021//19992021//2016
Brussels-Capital Region58.759.759.459.258.759.861.362.20.30.8
Flemish Region67.969.470.472.171.972.074.775.30.50.9
Walloon Region60.061.161.662.261.562.664.665.20.40.8
//: Average Growth Rates

The margin of uncertainty for this indicator is indicated in the text for the latest year. Break in time series: 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2017, 2021

1999-2004: Statbel (2022), Direct communication 31/05/2022, as of 2005: Eurostat (2022), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), lfst_r_lfe2emprtn, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 23/05/2022).

Employment rate by sex - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 1993199520002005201020152016202020212021//19932021//2016
females48.949.656.058.661.663.063.065.966.81.11.2
males73.473.175.574.373.571.372.374.174.50.10.6
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2017, 2021

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), 1993-2020 LFSI_EMP_A_H, from 2021 onwards LFSI_EMP_A, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 23/05/2022).

Employment rate by age - Belgium

percentage of population

 1993199520002005201020152016202020212021//19932021//2016
25-5473.473.677.478.380.078.579.180.380.70.30.4
55-6422.222.626.331.837.344.045.453.354.53.33.7
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2017, 2021

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), 1993-2020 LFSI_EMP_A_H, from 2021 onwards LFSI_EMP_A, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 23/05/2022).

Employment rate by education - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 199920002005201020152016202020212021//19992021//2016
at most lower secondary49.250.548.848.445.645.645.644.7-0.4-0.4
upper secondary68.469.168.869.167.267.768.167.5-0.1-0.1
tertiary84.484.482.881.981.882.283.684.10.00.5
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 1992, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2021

Statbel; Eurostat (2022), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), lfsa_ergaed, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 23/05/2022).

Employment rate by nationality - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 199920002005201020152016202020212021//19992021//2016
Belgians66.167.267.768.868.569.071.571.90.40.8
EU27 citizens except Belgians58.460.761.564.966.267.770.272.51.01.4
non-EU citizens34.638.239.142.144.042.940.243.31.00.2
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 2011, 2017, 2020

Statbel (2022), Direct communication 31/05/2022.

Employment rate by nationality: difference between Belgians and non-EU citizens - Belgium

percentage points; working age population (20-64)

 199920002005201020152016202020212021//19992021//2016
difference31.629.128.726.624.526.131.328.6-0.51.8
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 2011, 2017, 2021

Statbel (2022), Direct communication 31/05/2022.

Definition: the employment rate is the share of the active employed population in the working age population. The active employed population is defined as the number of persons aged 20 to 64 who worked at least one hour during the reference period, either as a wage earner with an employment contract in the private sector or in the public sector, or as a non-wage earner (self-employed or assistant). It should be noted that the active employed population is also equal to the sum of domestic employment and the balance of cross-border workers (i.e. the difference between the number of Belgian inhabitants working abroad and the number of non-Belgians not living in Belgium and working in Belgium). The working age population is made up of the persons aged 20 to 64. Employment data used for this indicator are based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Statistics Belgium organises this EU-harmonised survey in Belgium and makes the results available, in particular to Eurostat. The survey methodology was reviewed in 2017. Comparison of the 2017 data with previous years should be done with caution. Due to, among other things, changes in the definition of unemployment following a new European framework regulation, the data from 2021 onwards cannot be directly compared with those of 2020. From now on, persons who are temporarily unemployed for more than three months will no longer be counted as employed but as unemployed or inactive, depending on the answers to the questions on job search and availability.

The data used here come from Eurostat, which publishes detailed and comparable results between EU Member States. Since these data are based on surveys, a margin of uncertainty must be taken into account. This margin of uncertainty increases as the indicator is calculated on smaller sub-populations. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statistics Belgium.

Goal: the employment rate must increase.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 8.5: "By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value".

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development includes the following objectives: "The labour market will be accessible to all and will offer a decent job to each working-age person" (objective 8), "The level of employment will be as stable and high as possible and will respect the principles of a decent job. Every working-age person will have the opportunity to find a paid job" (objective 9) and "Working conditions will be adapted throughout the career to ensure a better quality of life and to be able to work longer" (objective 11) (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013).

In line with the Europe 2020 Strategy (European Commission, 2010) which seeks to raise the employment rate in the EU to 75% by 2020, Belgium aims at an employment rate of 73.2% by 2020. The Federal Government agreement of October 2014 (Federal Government, 2014) confirms this objective. Moreover, Belgium has adopted in its National Reform Programmes (which are part of the follow-up of the Europe 2020 Strategy) additional employment objectives by 2020, for women (69.1%) as well as for persons aged 55 to 64 (50%). Besides, the difference between the employment rate of non-EU citizens and that of Belgians must be lower than 16.5 percentage points according to these National Reform Programmes. T

he Federal Government agreement of October 2020 (Federal Government, 2020) aims for an employment rate of at least 80% by 2030. The 2022 National Reform Program confirms this (National Reform Program, 2022).

International comparison: the employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 in the EU27 is practically always higher than in Belgium throughout the 2000-2021 period and the tendencies run parallel. The growing trend noticed in Belgium between 2000 and 2008 was also observed in the EU27. In the EU27, this rate increased from 65.5% to 69.5% in this period. Then it decreased to 67.5% in 2013 and rose again to 73.1% in 2019. In 2020, the employment rate in the EU27 was 72.3% and in 2021 again 73.1% (70.6% in Belgium). When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with the poorest performance in 2020. In that year, Netherland ranked first with 81.7% and Greece last with 62.6%.

UN indicator: The selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to target 8.5., i.e. achieve full and productive employment.

Sources

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