Job vacancy

The number of job vacancies decreases

Work & training
The number of job vacancies decreases

Job vacancy figures in Belgium in the fourth quarter 2018

Belgian enterprises offered 141,700 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to 149,200 in the third quarter of 2018, according to the new figures of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office. The job vacancy rate – the number of job vacancies compared to the total number of jobs in the enterprise – has also decreased from 3.65% to 3.44%.


There was a decrease in Flanders and Wallonia, with respectively 5,100 and 2,800 job vacancies less than in the third quarter of 2018. The evolution in Brussels remains stable compared to the third quarter of 2018. The job vacancy rate is higher in Flanders (3.84 %) and in Brussels (+3.33 %) than in Wallonia (2.55%).

Most of the job vacancies were offered by large and medium-sized enterprises (79.6% of the total). The job vacancy rate for these enterprises stands at 3.17%. This figure is substantially lower than the job vacancy rate of 5.17% in enterprises with less than 10 employees.

More than half of the job vacancies (76.3%) can be found in five economic sectors:

  1. Scientific activities and administrative services (20.7% of the total): 29,300 job vacancies
  2. Non-profit (20.0%): 28,400 job vacancies
  3. Wholesale and retail trade (15.0%): 21,200 job vacancies
  4. Industry (12.8%): 18,100 job vacancies
  5. Construction (7.8%): 11,100 job vacancies

The following economic sectors have registered the highest job vacancy rate:

  1. Information and communication (ICT): 6.47%
  2. Accommodation and food service activities: 6.32%
  3. Scientific activities and administrative services: 5.60%
  4. Real estate activities: 5.25%
  5. Construction: 4.89%
  6. Transportation: 3.91%
  7. Wholesale and retail trade: 3.84%
  8. Industry: 3.15%

The job vacancy rate is declining (third versus fourth quarter 2018) in almost all sectors, especially in construction (-2.35 percentage points). The job vacancy rate has increased in the following sectors: real estate activities (+2.96 percentage points), accommodation and food service activities (-2.04 percentage points) and scientific activities and administrative services (+0.71 percentage point).

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Job vacancy rate, number and distribution of job vacancies according to job types and enterprise types in the 4th quarter 2018

Jobs In the 4th quarter 2018 Evolution compared to the 3rd quarter 2018 Evolution compared to the T4-2017
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 120 84,7% 3,0% -5,5% -0,2% +9,3% +0,2%
Temporary positions 22 15,3% 14,9% -2,3% -1,4% -9,0% -3,7%
Enterprise (<10 employees) 29 20,4% 5,2% -8,8% -0,5% -14,1% -0,9%
Enterprise (>10 employees) 113 79,6% 3,2% -4,0% -0,2% +12,9% +0,3%
Belgium 142 100,0% 3,4% -5,0% -0,2% +6,1% +0,1%
Economic sectors (NACE)

Number and proportion of job vacancies according to the economic sector and the regions in the 4th quarter 2018

Economic sectors (NACE) Number of job vacancies in the 4th quarter 2018 (x1.000) Proportion of job vacancies in the 4th quarter 2018
Belgium Belgium % Brussels-Capital Region Flemish Region Walloon Region Belgium Brussels-Capital Region Flemish Region Walloon Region
Industry (B-E) 18,1 12,8% 0,9 14,6 2,6 100,0% 4,7% 80,7% 14,5%
Construction (F) 11,1 7,8% 0,4 8,8 1,9 100,0% 3,4% 79,5% 17,0%
Wholesale and retail trade (G) 21,2 15,0% 2,6 15,5 3,1 100,0% 12,3% 73,1% 14,6%
Transportation (H) 9,8 6,9% 1,8 6,6 1,5 100,0% 18,2% 66,8% 15,1%
Accommodation and food service activities (I) 8,5 6,0% 1,0 4,7 2,9 100,0% 11,6% 54,8% 33,6%
Information and communication (J) 8,1 5,7% 1,5 5,6 0,9 100,0% 18,8% 69,5% 11,7%
Financial and insurance activities (K) 2,7 1,9% 1,2 1,3 0,2 100,0% 45,4% 47,4% 7,2%
Real estate activities (L) 1,4 1,0% 0,4 0,9 0,1 100,0% 26,2% 65,0% 8,8%
Sciences and services (M-N) 29,3 20,7% 4,4 21,1 3,9 100,0% 14,9% 71,7% 13,4%
Non-profit (O-Q) 28,4 20,0% 4,9 14,7 8,8 100,0% 17,2% 51,8% 31,0%
Other services (R-S) 3,1 2,2% 0,8 1,6 0,7 100,0% 26,9% 51,5% 21,6%
Total (B-S)> 141,7 100,0% 19,8 95,3 0,0 100,0% 14,0% 67,2% 18,8%

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 and 11,070 in 2017.

The estimation method of occupied posts and job vacancies of small enterprises (less than 10 employees) of the industrial NACE sections (B-E) has been modified from the 3rd quarter of 2018 in order to improve the quality of the results. In order to avoid a break in series, the figures of previous quarters have also been recalculated. This recalculation only has a very limited impact on the previously published results.

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 and 64.6 % in 2017.


The job vacancy survey is organised every quarter.

Release calendar

Results are published 70 days after the reference period.