Impact of the COVID-19 on the calculation of job vacancies

JVS is a quarterly survey based on a questionnaire that asks enterprises for their number of job vacancies at a reference date in the middle of the quarter (i.e. on 15/05/2020 for Q2 of 2020).

This value is normally considered to be representative of the whole period. However, given that the Covid-19 crisis began in Belgium around mid-March and still has an impact today on the labour market, considering the value on 15/05 as representative of the situation for the whole quarter would be inconsistent and would lead to a biased estimation of the number of job vacancies in the majority of the sectors examined.

This is why it has been decided to apply correction coefficients on the results obtained via our survey.

First, the results on job vacancies (permanent and temporary) have been corrected using coefficients (see table below) calculated based on the number of job vacancies published by the EPS (Forem, Actiris and VDAB).

Correction coefficients for job vacancies according to the EPS and sectors of activity

NACE 2008 Code EPS
Actiris VDAB Forem
B. Mining and quarrying 1.00 1.00 0.96
C. Manufacturing 1.23 1.17 0.87
D. Electricity, gas supply 0.84 1.02 0.80
E. Water supply 0.84 1.02 0.80
F. Construction 1.49 1.16 1.00
G. Wholesale and retail trade 1.32 1.17 1.00
H. Transportation and storage 1.03 1.05 0.84
I. Accommodation and food service activities 1.64 1.63 1.04
J. Information and communication 1.09 1.05 0.84
K. Financial and insurance activities 0.99 1.08 0.73
L. Real estate activities 1.47 1.13 0.81
M. Professional, scientific and technical activities 1.09 1.13 0.81
N. Administrative and support service activities 0.95 1.17 0.81
O. Public administration 0.93 1.15 1.06
P. Education 1.30 1.44 1.31
Q. Human health and social work activities 1.16 1.21 0.91
R. Arts, entertainment and recreation 1.13 1.15 0.82
S. Other service activities 1.18 1.11 0.82

For example, the correction to the estimate of job vacancies in the construction sector in Flanders is based on a coefficient of 1,16. It is obtained by applying the following formula based on the Simpson's rule:

(Number of job vacancies in April in the sector F in Flanders + 4*number of job vacancies in May in the sector F in Flanders + number of job vacancies in June in the sector F in Flanders) / estimated number of job vacancies on 15 May/6

Which makes it possible to estimate the number of job vacancies as follows:

Number of job vacancies in the sector F in Flanders in Q2 = number of job vacancies in the sector F in Flanders obtained via the survey * 1.16

Second, the results on temporarily occupied posts were corrected thanks to the index published by Federgon, which is the federation of HR service providers. This index reflects the global and national level of temporary posts, which is why it was decided to apply it to all sectors in the 3 regions. 

Example with sector F in Brussels, knowing that the index for April was 61.84, that of May 75.45 and that of June 84.67:

  • Index estimation on 15 May: (61.84 + 75.45) /2 = 68.64
  • Calculation of the correction coefficient: (61.84 + 75.45*4 + 84.67 ) /68.64 /6 = 1.0885

Temporarily occupied posts in the sector F in Brussels = [temporarily occupied posts in the sector F in Brussels obtained via the survey] * 1.0885

Finally, no correction was applied to permanently occupied posts, which is in line with Eurostat’s position on this topic.