Foreign groups generate nearly one quarter of total employment in Wallonia, according to a new report by the Centre de recherche et d’information socio-politiques (CRiSP). Among foreign investors in the region, US companies are the second most important job creators, behind only France.
There are 1,506 foreign companies in Wallonia – that is, entities that are majority-owned by a foreign group – which taken together employ 139,461 people locally, or 24.3% of the total 573,544 full-time equivalent jobs in the region. SMEs account for the lion’s share of the labor market (56.4%), with Belgian companies making up the remainder (19.3%).
US companies are strongly anchored in Wallonia, directly employing 32,212 people. After France and the US, the top foreign employers in the region are the Netherlands, the UK and Japan. The researchers expect future innovation and investments to come from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), whose presence has increased and will continue to grow in the coming 15 years.
The majority of foreign employment in Wallonia is concentrated in strategic sectors, such as banking & finance, metal processing, chemicals and energy.
Multinational corporations and SMEs are both important for the local economy, and not only in terms of employment. It is not an either/or proposition. All companies, large or small, foreign or local, operate in an ecosystem. Foreign capital helps local companies to grow, and local companies can benefit from the know-how and experience of foreign enterprises.
The Chamber will continue to work with the Belgian governments to ensure Belgium remains attractive for foreign investors, who create jobs and drive economic growth.
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