Talent mobility in Belgium

  • Badenoch and Clark Belgium
  • 28/01/2016
  • 12:30
  • Client
  • Adecco Group
  • Insights
  • Quantity Surveying
Talent mobility
In the world of HR and recruiting, talent mobility is key, and rightly so, because the flexibility and mobility of workers poses some major challenges for companies. And new developments such as the refugee crisis have created a rapidly changing labour market. To find out about talent mobility in Belgium, Badenoch & Clark – part of the Adecco Group – commissioned an independent study. The local research was fielded among 300 Belgian organizations with international activities and headquarters based in Belgium or in another country. The target group was: Belgian CEO’s, other Executives and HR Responsibles.The results were presented at the Badenoch & Clark Summit in the Ghelamco Arena in Ghent.

Talent mobility in Belgium

Badenoch & Clark commissioned an independent study at iVOX to assess the talent mobility in Belgium. What are the experiences of entrepreneurs and HR managers? What problems do they encounter? And what do they do to increase international mobility?

On 27 November, Layla El Mourabit, Managing Director Badenoch & Clark Belgium, presented the results of the study. Conclusions:

  • 46% of the surveyed people says that his or her organisation takes initiatives to increase international mobility. 
  • 60% believes that universities and colleges of higher education will listen to their needs. And 40% believes that other countries prepare youths better for the labour market than Belgium.
  • 38% says that his or her organisation hires foreign workers due to the lack of Belgian workers. Engineers are an in-demand profession. 
  • Just about half the surveyed people believes Belgium is suffering a brain drain of sought after profiles. And most respondents believe that countries such as the US and Australia have better protection against this.

Panel discussion

The results provide food for thought and during the presentation a panel of experience experts kicked off the discussion.

Kristian Vandenhoudt, vice president HR at Atlas Copco, underlined that Atlas Copco has a clear strategy to hire and keep international talent. It is about making sure your business is ‘top of mind’ in your sector: “Our branding strategy is about communicating who we are and who we are looking for. Our motto is hire for attitude, train for skill. We look for young, talented people with an international mindset, and train them in the company.”

Is a war on talent being waged? Joachim Decock, vice president of the international DLL group, doesn't believe in it. War has not been waged for a long time, talent has won out. Employers look for people with the right mentality and an international perspective. Although expats are not as common as before. “Homeworker offers a solution for the increasing travel expenses and high cost price of expats, but an international business always needs a number of expats to convey the corporate culture.”

The refugee crisis – a totally different kind of war – poses challenges for countries and companies, but also offers opportunities. Pieter Timmermans, CEO of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises, thinks it is too early to talk about the impact of the refugee crisis on work mobility. He does believes it offers an opportunity for companies to screen the refugees themselves. Joachim Decock agrees: “Screening is also our responsibility. And we do it anyway, so why leave this to the authorities?”

However, the panel members believe the Belgian authorities still has its work cut out. The regulations and the legal insecurity in particular curtail Belgium's economic position. “Doing business in Belgium not only involves too much red tape, the continuously changing legislation does not help either,” says Pieter Timmermans. “And when new legislation has been passed don't immediately change it again. Stability is an absolute prerequisite for companies that want to invest in Belgium.”

What the future brings? Patrick Derthoo, tax consultant at Deloitte, is cautiously positive. “I think that in a couple of years, Europe, like the United States, will be a unified market, for jobs too. The compensations companies pay to international workers will drop. Pay packages are already becoming more flexible.”

Global Talent Competitiveness Index

Launched for the first time in 2013, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) is an annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent. The report ranks over 100 countries according to their ability to grow, attract and retain talent. The GTCI combines the academic research and expertise of INSEAD, the international business school, and Singapore's Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) with the business experience and perspective of Adecco, the world leader in Human Resources solutions. The GTCI provides a good idea of the challenges for countries, companies and recruiters and in this way constitutes an essential tool for policymakers to strengthen their positions.

Watch the highlights of our Badenoch & Clark Summit 2015 on talent mobility