Belgium: Flanders reports lack of staff in more than 200 occupations

Belgium: There are currently 207 occupations in Flanders on the list of bottleneck professions, which means employers in these professions are finding it hard to employ individuals as well as fill their vacancies.

In the previous year, the Flemish Employment Service (VDAB) received 400,000 vacancies, which is 36 percent over the year before. Similarly, the maximum number of job seekers has reduced by 7 percent, leaving an increasing number of employers struggling to fill vacancies.

The region’s Employment Minister Jo Brouns mentioned in the statement, “There are currently no less than 207 professions on the list of bottleneck professions.”

Along with this, VDAB aims to fill these positions, in part through its training that aims to help jobseekers fill vacancies in bottleneck professions, including prison staff or teachers.

A recent study showed that the training offered by VDAB is bearing fruit, as three-quarters of the jobseekers who followed such a course between 2019, as well as 2021 are now working in a bottleneck profession for which they trained.

Additionally, Brouns asserted, “These positive figures mean two things to me: first of all, it has once again been demonstrated that training is a de facto guarantee of a job in a labour market that is currently extremely tight.”

“In addition, we need to widen the pool if we want to tackle the labour shortage fundamentally and raise the employment rate to 80 percent. Activating jobseekers alone will not suffice. So we must tempt people who are not yet professionally active to get to work.”

Moreover, the number of trainees who successfully completed the training course has also increased from just under half (48 percent) in 2019 to 57 percent in 2021. Of this total, 75 percent are employed in the bottleneck profession for which they were trained.

“The flow to bottleneck professions is greatest in the Care and Education sector,” as per Brouns.

The other 25 percent are not yet working, or in jobs unrelated to the training they followed. The research found that the lack of experience, attitude, and unrealistic expectations of job seekers are reasons they do not find a job.

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