Job vacancy

Decrease in the number of job vacancies in Belgium in the 1st quarter of 2020

Work & training
Decrease in the number of job vacancies in Belgium in the 1st quarter of 2020

Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, publishes today the number of job vacancies in Belgian enterprises. The figures presented in this press release reflect the situation in the 1st quarter of 2020 and therefore take into account the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the number of job vacancies during this period (see methodological note here below). The job vacancy rate - the number of job vacancies compared to the total number of jobs in the enterprise - has mainly decreased in the sectors “accommodation and food service activities” and “financial and insurance activities”, while it has increased in the sector “information and communication” and in the non-profit sector. The job vacancy rate for temporary jobs is considerably higher than that for permanent positions.

The total number of job vacancies decreased by 7 %

In the first quarter of 2020, there were 129,170 job vacancies in Belgian enterprises, compared to 139,420 in the fourth quarter of 2019, i.e. a decrease of 7 %.

The job vacancy rate - the number of job vacancies compared to the total number of jobs in the enterprise - has decreased from 3.39 % to 3.20 %.



The number of job vacancies in Brussels has increased by 1,057, while Flanders and Wallonia registered a decrease of respectively 9,065 and 2,241 job vacancies compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

With 67 % of all job vacancies in Belgium, Flanders remains the region with the largest number of job vacancies in the country, followed by Wallonia with 19 % and Brussels with 14 %.

The job vacancy rate remains higher in Flanders (3.53 %) and in Brussels (3.17 %) than in Wallonia (2.41 %).




Type of enterprises and type of jobs

There were 5.17 times as many job vacancies in large and medium-sized enterprises as in small enterprises. However, the job vacancy rate remains higher in small enterprises (3.98 %) than in large enterprises (3.08 %).

Although more job vacancies are offered for permanent jobs (84.46 %), the job vacancy rate is significantly higher for temporary jobs (16.11 %) than for permanent jobs (2.79 %).

Breakdown according to the sector of activity (NACE)

More than three-quarter (79.1 %) of job vacancies are offered in five economic sectors: the non-profit sector, scientific activities and administrative services, the industry, wholesale and retail trade and construction.

The job vacancy rate decreases mainly in the sector “accommodation and food service activities” (-2.63 percentage points) and in the sector “financial and insurance activities” (-1.19 point), while it increases in the sector “information and communication” (+0.39 point) and in the non-profit sector (+0.33 point).

Methodological note

JVS is a quarterly survey based on a questionnaire that asks enterprises for their number of job vacancies at a reference date (15/02/2020 for Q1 of 2020) which is considered to be representative of the whole period. However, given that the Covid-19 crisis began in Belgium in March, to consider these values as representative of the quarter would be inconsistent and would lead to an overestimation of the number of job vacancies in the majority of the sectors studied.

This is why it has been decided to apply correction coefficients to the results obtained via our survey. Since the Covid-19 crisis had an impact on the figures for March, only this month is corrected, while the results of the survey are considered to be representative for January and February. More information is available here.


Job vacancy rate, number and distribution of job vacancies according to job types and enterprise types in the 1st quarter 2020

Jobs In the 1st quarter 2020 Evolution compared to the 4th quarter 2019 Evolution compared to the T1-2019
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 109 84.5% 2.8% -6.6% -0.1% -13.4% -0.4%
Temporary positions 20 15.5% 16.1% -11.0% -0.7% -7.3% 0.8%
Enterprise (<10 employees) 21 16.2% 4.0% -31.4% -1.4% -21.1% -1.2%
Enterprise (>10 employees) 108 83.8% 3.1% -0.6% 0.0% -10.7% -0.3%
Belgium 129 100,0% 3.2% -7.4% -0.2% -12.5% -0.4%
Economic sectors (NACE)

Number and proportion of job vacancies according to the economic sector and the regions in the 1st quarter 2020

Economic sectors (NACE) Number of job vacancies in the 1st quarter 2020 (x1.000) Proportion of job vacancies in the 1st quarter 2020
Belgium Belgium % Brussels-Capital Region Flemish Region Walloon Region Belgium Brussels-Capital Region Flemish Region Walloon Region
Industry (B-E) 17.2 13,3% 0.7 13.6 2.9 100% 4.3% 79.0% 16.7%
Construction (F) 12.2 9,4% 0.4 9.8 1.9 100% 3.6% 80.6% 15.8%
Wholesale and retail trade (G) 14.8 11,5% 1.4 10.7 2.7 100% 9.4% 72.6% 17.9%
Transportation (H) 8.7 6,7% 1.3 6.2 1.2 100% 14.6% 71.2% 14.2%
Accommodation and food service activities (I) 5.0 3,9% 0.5 3.8 0.6 100% 9.7% 77.3% 13.1%
Information and communication (J) 8.0 6,2% 2.1 5.0 0.8 100% 26.2% 63.2% 10.5%
Financial and insurance activities (K) 2.1 1,6% 1.0 0.9 0.3 100% 46.0% 41.1% 12.9%
Real estate activities (L) 0.9 0,7% 0.1 0.5 0.3 100% 12.3% 57.3% 30.4%
Sciences and services (M-N) 26.3 20,3% 4.2 18.7 3.4 100% 16.0% 71.0% 13.1%
Non-profit (O-Q) 31.7 24,5% 5.6 16.2 9.9 100% 17.8% 51.1% 31.1%
Other services (R-S) 2.4 1,8% 0.7 1.1 0.6 100% 27.8% 47.7% 24.6%
Total (B-S) 129.2 100,0% 18.0 86.6 24.6 100% 13.9% 67.0% 19.0%

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.