Employment rate

  •  30/11/2021
  • objective 
  •  assessment 
  •  SDG-I  

In 2020, the employment rate in Belgium was 70%. 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.

The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.
The chart will appear within this DIV.

Employment rate - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 2000200520102015202020252030
observations66.366.567.667.270.0----
trend and extrapolation (November 2021)65.166.267.268.169.971.472.3
objective 203080.080.080.080.080.080.080.0

break in series: 2001, 2005, 2011, 2017

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30 or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 01/10/2021); FPB calculations.

Employment rate - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 199019952000200520102015201920202020//19952020//2015
Belgium59.761.466.366.567.667.270.570.00.50.8
EU27------66.867.869.073.172.4--1.0
//: Average Growth Rates

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

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30 or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021).

Employment rate by region - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 19992000200520102015201920202020//19992020//2015
Brussels-Capital Region58.459.559.459.258.761.761.30.20.9
Flemish Region67.469.770.472.171.975.574.70.50.8
Walloon Region60.262.061.662.261.564.664.60.31.0
//: 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.

Statbel (2021), Direct communication 27/07/2021; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), lfst_r_lfe2emprtn, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021).

Employment rate by sex - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 19952000200520102015201920202020//19952020//2015
females49.656.458.661.663.066.565.91.10.9
males73.276.174.373.571.374.574.10.00.8
//: Average Growth Rates

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

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30 or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021).

Employment rate by age - Belgium

percentage of population

 19952000200520102015201920202020//19952020//2015
25-5473.877.978.380.078.580.880.30.30.5
55-6423.325.031.837.344.052.153.33.43.9
//: Average Growth Rates

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

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30 or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021).

Employment rate by education - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 199219952000200520102015201920202020//19922020//2015
less than primary, primary and lower secondary education48.746.651.248.848.445.646.345.6-0.20.0
upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education67.066.369.168.869.167.269.868.10.10.3
tertiary education83.982.285.482.881.981.883.883.60.00.4
//: Average Growth Rates

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

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), lfsa_ergaed, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021).

Employment rate by nationality - Belgium

percentage of working age population (20-64)

 199520002005200620102015201920202020//19952020//20062020//2015
Belgians63.067.767.767.868.868.571.871.50.50.40.9
EU27 citizens except Belgians------61.264.966.270.270.2--1.01.2
non-EU citizens------39.342.644.744.240.1--0.1-2.1
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 2011, 2017

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30a or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021).

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

percentage points; working age population (20-64)

 200620102015201920202020//20062020//2015
difference28.526.223.827.631.40.75.7
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 2011, 2017

Statbel; Eurostat (2021), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), sdg_08_30a or lfsa_ergan, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 1/10/2021); caclulations FPB.

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. 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. The Federal Government agreement of October 2020 (Federal Government, 2020) aims for an employment rate of at least 80% by 2030.

The European Council, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the social partners agreed at the Porto Summit (7-8 May 2021) on new targets to boost the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The EU Council confirmed these targets (European Council, 2021a and 2021b). An employment rate of at least 78% is targeted for 2030. Member States are invited to set national targets by the beginning of 2022, taking into account the starting position of each country, so that these can be included in the European policy cycle of 2022.

International comparison: the employment rate of people aged 20 to 64 in the EU27 has been higher than in Belgium throughout the 2002-2019 period and the tendencies run parallel. The growing trend noticed in Belgium between 2003 and 2008 was also observed in the EU27. In the EU27, this rate increased from 65.7% 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% (70% 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, Sweden ranked first with 80.8% and Greece last with 61.1%.

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

More information is available in French and Dutch.