Job vacancy

Increase in the number of job vacancies in Belgium in the 1st quarter 2021

Work & training
Increase in the number of job vacancies in Belgium in the 1st quarter 2021

Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the number of job vacancies in Belgian enterprises. The figures in this press release reflect the situation in the 1st quarter 2021 and so take into account the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the number of job vacancies during this period (see note below). The job vacancy rate – the number of job vacancies compared to the total number of jobs in the enterprise – increases primarily in the sectors ‘Accommodation and food service activities’, ‘Scientific activities and administrative services’ and ‘Construction’. The job vacancy rate for temporary positions remains significantly higher than that of permanent positions.

The total number of job vacancies increases by 22.51%

In the first quarter 2021, Belgian enterprises offered 141,565 job vacancies compared to 115,553 in the fourth quarter 2020, i.e. an increase of 22.51%.

The job vacancy rate – the number of job vacancies compared to the total number of jobs in the enterprise – has also increased from 2.91% to 3.51%.



The number of job vacancies rose in the 3 regions, with an increase of 16,250 job vacancies in Flanders, 7,609 in Wallonia and 2,154 in Brussels compared to the fourth quarter 2020.

With 65% of all job vacancies in Belgium, Flanders remains the region with the largest number of job vacancies, followed by Wallonia with 22% and Brussels with 13%.

The job vacancy rate remains higher in Flanders (3.83%) and in Brussels (3.07%) than in Wallonia (3.03%).



Type of enterprises and type of jobs

There are 3.38 times more job vacancies in large and medium-sized enterprises than in small enterprises. However, the job vacancy rate remains higher in small enterprises (6.10%) than in large and medium-sized enterprises (3.12%).

Although more job vacancies are offered for permanent positions (86.12%), the job vacancy rate is significantly higher for temporary positions (16.51%) than for permanent positions (3.12%).

Breakdown by activity sector (NACE)

More than three quarters (78.9%) of job vacancies can be found in five economic sectors: the non-profit sector, scientific activities and administrative services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and construction.

The job vacancy rate mainly increases in the sectors ‘Accommodation and food service activities’ (+1.78 percentage points), ‘Scientific activities and administrative services’ (+1.31 points) and ‘Construction’ (+1.23 points). Furthermore, this rate remains the highest in the sector ‘Information and communication’ (7.10%) and the lowest in the sector ‘Financial and insurance activities’ (1.86%).


Due to the closure of many establishments since November 2020 in sectors I and R and in order to correct for the resulting non-response, estimates have been made using administrative data.


Job vacancy rate, number and distribution of job vacancies according to job types and enterprise types in the 1st quarter 2021

Jobs In the 1st quarter 2021 Evolution compared to the 4th quarter 2020 Evolution compared to the T1-2020
Number of job vacancies (x1,000) Distribution of job vacancies Job vacancy rate Number of job vacancies Job vacancy rate Number of job vacancies Job vacancy rate
Fixed positions 122 86.1% 3.1% 23.6% 0.6% 11.7% 0.3%
Temporary positions 20 13.9% 16.5% 15.9% 1.2% -2.1% 0.4%
Enterprise (<10 employees) 32 22.9% 6.1% 32.4% 1.1% 54.6% 2.1%
Enterprise (>10 employees) 109 77.1% 3.1% 19.9% 0.5% 0.9% 0.0%
Belgium 142 100,0% 3.5% 22.5% 0.6% 9.6% 0.3%
Economic sectors (NACE)

Number and proportion of job vacancies according to the economic sector and the regions in the 1st quarter 2021

Economic sectors (NACE) Number of job vacancies in the 1st quarter 2021 (x1.000) Proportion of job vacancies in the 4th quarter 2020
Belgium Belgium % Brussels-Capital Region Flemish Region Walloon Region Belgium Brussels-Capital Region Flemish Region Walloon Region
Industry (B-E) 18.6 13,1% 0.7 14.1 3.8 100% 4.0% 75.8% 20.2%
Construction (F) 12.5 8,8% 0.5 9.4 2.6 100% 4.2% 75.2% 20.6%
Wholesale and retail trade (G) 17.4 12,3% 0.9 13.6 2.9 100% 5.1% 78.1% 16.8%
Transportation (H) 8.8 6,2% 2.4 5.0 1.4 100% 27.3% 56.9% 15.7%
Accommodation and food service activities (I) 4.8 3,4% 0.1 2.8 1.9 100% 1.4% 58.6% 40.0%
Information and communication (J) 9.3 6,6% 2.3 4.8 2.1 100% 25.2% 52.2% 22.7%
Financial and insurance activities (K) 2.0 1,4% 0.8 0.9 0.3 100% 40.1% 47.3% 12.6%
Real estate activities (L) 0.8 0,6% 0.3 0.3 0.2 100% 30.3% 42.0% 27.7%
Sciences and services (M-N) 29.9 21,1% 3.6 21.5 4.8 100% 12.0% 72.0% 16.0%
Non-profit (O-Q) 33.3 23,5% 6.2 16.6 10.4 100% 18.7% 49.9% 31.4%
Other services (R-S) 4.2 3,0% 0.7 2.2 1.3 100% 16.6% 52.3% 31.1%
Total (B-S) 141.6 100,0% 18.5 91.4 31.7 100% 13.1% 64.6% 22.4%

Quarterly job vacancy survey (JVS)

Purpose and short description

The quarterly job vacancy survey meets the statistical needs of the European Commission as defined in the  Regulation (EC) nº 453/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008, the Commission Regulation (EC) nº 1062/2008  of 28 October 2008 and the  Commission Regulation (EC) nº 19/2009  of 13 January 2009. Job vacancy statistics provide information on unmet labour demand. Information on job vacancies is used for business cycle analysis and assessing mismatches on the labour market. This quarterly survey is based on a sample of enterprises with at least one employee. Data are collected according to the economic sector and location of the enterprise, as well as the enterprise size class.

Survey population

The survey population consists of enterprises with at least one employee. Activities of households, self-employed and extraterritorial organisations and bodies (such as embassies, consulates, European institutions, WCO, NATO, etc.) are not included.

Since 2014, all enterprises from sections B to S from the NACE rev 2 are analysed.

Main definitions

A job vacancy is defined as a paid post that is newly created, unoccupied, or about to become vacant, for which the employer is taking active steps and is prepared to take further steps to find a suitable candidate from outside the enterprise concerned; and which the employer intends to fill either immediately or within a specific period of time. A vacant post that is only open to internal candidates is not considered as a "job vacancy".

An "occupied post" is a paid post within the organisation to which an employee has been assigned.

The job vacancy rate (JVR) measures the proportion of total posts that are vacant, according to the definition of job vacancy above, expressed as a percentage as follows: Berekenin%20engels.png

Data collection method and sample size

The sampling method uses the principle of a rotational panel selected according to the size and economic sector of the employer enterprises, on the basis of their individual quarterly declarations on occupied posts to the National Social Security Office (NSSO). Selected enterprises are surveyed every quarter of the year. After a year, a third of the enterprises from the strata with a drawing probability lower than one third are renewed. Enterprises from the other strata remain in the panel every year. The panel design was retained as it takes into account any evolution in the business world while ensuring consistency across quarters.

Questionaires are sent to enterprises in XBRL format after they have been informed of their selection by mail. The survey form asks the enterprises to provide the number of fixed and temporary occupied posts and job vacancies, in the three regions. The reference date is the date in the middle of the quarter (15 February for the first quarter, 15 May for the second quarter, 16 August for the third quarter and 16 November for the fourth quarter).

The average number of enterprises surveyed each quarter was 10,383 in 2012, 11,561 in 2013, 10,976 in 2014, 10,978 in 2015, 11,270 in 2016, 11,070 in 2017, 10,193 in 2018 and 10,241 in 2019.

Response rate

The average response rate was 72 % in 2012, 67.5 % in 2013, 67 % in 2014, 65.8 % in 2015, 59.1 % in 2016, 64.5 % in 2017 and 60.8 % in 2018.


The job vacancy survey is organised every quarter.

Release calendar

Results are published 70 days after the reference period.