7 temporary workers out of 10 still have a job a year later
Statbel publishes today the transitions on the labour market between the third quarter of 2022 and the third quarter of 2023. These results show that people still stay in employment easily: 94% of people who were employed last year are still working. However, if we look at people with a temporary job, we see that only 7 out of 10 are still working. About 28% of the unemployed made the transition to employment, and 40% remained unemployed. 32% of the unemployed became inactive. This figure is slightly higher than in the previous quarters. 9 inactive persons out of 10 remained inactive.
A very high percentage of people who were employed a year ago are still working today. 93.9% of people who were employed in the third quarter of 2022 are still employed in the third quarter of 2023. In addition, 1.6% of employed people have become unemployed a year later and 4.5% inactive. These figures remained fairly stable compared to the previous quarter.
However, if we look at a specific group of employed people, we see that they are less likely to stay at work: whereas 94% of all employed people stay at work, the figure is only 7 in 10 for people with temporary jobs. Of these 7 out of 10, half of them has a permanent job, and the other half still has a temporary job.
If we dig a little deeper into these data (data from 2021 until 2023Q3 for the first wave), we see that there are several reasons for having a temporary job. Of those who had a year ago a contract of limited duration in view of a permanent contract, 73.3% now have a permanent job. Also 58.8% of those who could not find a permanent job at that time have a permanent job after one year. Of those who were in some kind of internship, 53.6% have a job a year later, and among those who had a temporary job for other reasons, the figure is 49.4%. Only 40.1% of those who had a temporary job because that job was offered on a temporary basis only now have a permanent job. Finally, a quarter of those who were in temporary work a year ago because they did not want a permanent job now have a permanent job.
In the previous quarters, it was noticeable that unemployed people seemed to find it more difficult to make the transition to work. This is confirmed in the third quarter of 2023. 27.8% of the unemployed in the third quarter of 2022 are employed a year later. This percentage was 33.8% a year ago, and 43.4% two years ago. In absolute numbers, this means that of the 300,000 unemployed people in the third quarter of 2022, 120,000 are still unemployed one year later, 80,000 are working and 100,000 have become inactive.
We see large regional differences: of the Flemish unemployed in the third quarter of 2022, 33.2% are still unemployed one year later. Figures are higher in the Brussels-Capital Region and in the Walloon Region: the percentage of people remaining unemployed over a 1-year period stands at 42.5% in the Brussels-Capital Region and at 45.2% in the Walloon Region.
The vast majority of inactive people are still inactive one year later. Of the 3.3 million people who were inactive in the third quarter of 2022, 89.7% or 3 million are still inactive one year later, a figure slightly lower than in the previous quarter. 7.4% or 200,000 people have started to work and a small percentage of 2.9% or 100,000 people have made the transition to unemployment according to the ILO definitions. This means that these people are now seeking work and are also available for a job, whereas they were not a year earlier.
To assess the situation of the labour market, it is not only important to know how many people are unemployed, inactive and employed, but also how many people change their status within a given period of time. How many of the unemployed in this quarter were also looking for work a year earlier? How many of them made the transition to work? What percentage of employed people were also working a year earlier? Questions that can be answered with the Labour Force Survey, as this is a survey in which respondents are questioned several times.
In this press release, we discuss the evolution of the labour market status of people who were employed, unemployed or inactive one year ago (third quarter of 2022) and compare it with their status in the current quarter (third quarter of 2023). We focus here on the population aged 15 to 74. We also publish the comparison between the status in the previous quarter (second quarter of 2023) and the status in the current quarter (third quarter of 2023). These figures are not discussed in this text, but can be found under Figures on the website.
The figures presented here are the results of the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a survey harmonised at European level. The definitions regarding employment and unemployment that are used are those of the International Labour Office (ILO) to allow international comparison. We distinguish three ILO statuses on the labour market: employed, unemployed and inactive. The definitions applied are available here.
Please note that temporarily unemployed persons are temporarily absent from work and are counted as employed.
The Labour Force Survey is a continuous survey, which means that the sample is spread evenly over the 52 weeks of the year. The selected respondents answer a questionnaire mainly related to their activity in the course of a given reference week. The respondents participate four times: they participate for 2 consecutive quarters, then don’t for 2 quarters, and then participate again for 2 quarters. This way, we can observe what the labour market status of a given respondent is in a given quarter, and a quarter and/or a year later: e.g. is someone who is unemployed still unemployed in the next quarter and/or year?
So, if one speaks of a particular status in a particular quarter, it is by definition the status in the reference week. If one indicates to work in the reference week of quarter Q and in the reference week of quarter Q+1, they are counted twice as employed. There are, of course, a number of cases that were unemployed in the meantime, for example, but this is beyond the scope of our data.
The quarterly transitions are the sums of weighted observations of respondents who participated in the successive quarters (e.g. 2019Q4-2020Q1, 2020Q1-2020Q2).
The quarter-specific annual transitions are the sums of weighted observations of respondents participating in the same quarter of two consecutive years (e.g. 2019Q1-2020Q1).
The annual transitions are the means of four quarter-specific annual transitions for two successive years (e.g. 2019-2020).
Respondents who did not participate in one of two waves (= interviews) cannot be taken into account in this analysis. Respondents in the longitudinal sample are in both quarters at least 15 years old and at most 74 years old.
The longitudinal sample is calibrated to the estimated distributions of ILO labour market status per age, gender, region, level of education and nationality in the start and end quarters.
The published figures are based on the Labour Force Survey. They are no exact figures but approximations based on the extrapolation of a random sample from the Belgian population. This must be taken into account when interpreting the results. When the unweighted number of people is lower than 30, data should be interpreted with caution.
The level of education is measured using a detailed questionnaire, and the people are then divided into three groups.
Low-skilled people are people who list lower secondary education as their highest level of education. Medium-skilled people are people who obtained a diploma of higher secondary education but not of higher education. High-skilled people obtained a diploma of higher education.
What is the difference between permanent job and temporary job
People who have an employment contract of unlimited duration are considered to have a permanent job.
People who don’t have an employment contract of unlimited duration are considered to have a temporary job.