According to the Job Confidence Index 2017, the Belgian employees and candidates are very optimistic about the labour market. These are the most important trends that makes them confident about the job market this year.

After many gloomy years of economic crisis, the job market finally recovered in 2016. For the first time in decades, the unemployment rate in Wallonia became as low as in Flanders. Compared to the year before the total number of job seekers in Belgium decreased by 7%. According to the National Bank of Belgium, more than 55 thousand extra jobs were created in the last year, with 120.000 new jobs on the horizon in next three years.

These numbers also have an effect on the confidence people have in the job market. According to the quarterly Job Confidence Index of PageGroup, job seekers saw their opportunities growing significantly in the last year. By the end of 2016 almost 55% felt confident about their career opportunities, about the labour market and the economy in general. In the first quarter of 2017 that percentage increased to 58%

Respondents' confidence in the economy is displayed in the graph below. Click on the different countries to compare results. 

Based on the results of the Index, these are the 3 most important trends we can expect in the upcoming year.

50-plus candidates get more job opportunities

In the Job Confidence Index, the 50-plus employees and job seekers in Belgium are the most optimistic of all their colleagues in the whole of Europe: 64% think they will be able to find a new job within 3 months. There are many reasons for their optimism. Although senior job seekers had a difficult time during the crisis, they are benefiting from the growing labour market. SMEs in particular see the great advantages of hiring older employees. They are loyal, have many years of experience and can serve as mentors for younger employees. According to UNIZO, the Belgian union for entrepreneurs, companies hired 34,690 senior employees more than the year before.

Also read: 3 ways the Belgian job market is inspiring optimism

The competition for talented candidates increases

The tables have turned last year: during the crisis the companies where the ones being in charge. Even the most talented candidates needed to compete for the best job openings. However, it will be the other way around: companies will need do their best to seduce good candidates, if they want to avoid losing them to their competitors.  In the last quarter of 2016, the Job Confidence Index already showed that especially under 30 expect better compensation. The time that they were happy even finding a job is gone. The number that was satisfied with what their employer offered is only 51%. “Companies need to offer all kinds of extras if they want to hire the best candidates, like the right salary, good benefits and flexibility,” says Thibaud Adès, Managing Director of PageGroup in Belgium

Also read: 6 things top employers do to value their employees

Employees get more opportunities to boost their career

Belgian employees are among the most positive in Europe, when it comes to their career perspectives: 59% expect a career promotion in the near future. Chances are that number will go up in the upcoming year, as companies will invest more in retaining their best employees. According to research by the Confederation Belgian Businesses (VBO), companies already invest 2,4% of the total salary costs in education of their labour force. It puts second place in the European ranking, right after France, and before Germany and the Netherlands.

Also read: From shelf stacker to company manager

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