The US Top 50, our annual listing of the 50 largest US groups in Belgium as measured by employment, in total employed 81,750 people (FTEs) in 2015, the latest year for which official data are available, according to new research carried out by AmCham Belgium.
US companies are important job creators in Belgium: the 900 majority-owned US groups active here directly employed 127,100 people in 2015, which represents 4.5% of total private sector employment. US Top 50 companies alone account for 64% of total US employment in Belgium, highlighting the importance of large multinational companies as a source of direct jobs – to say nothing of the ecosystems they create.
Employment among the US Top 50, however, declined by 2.5% year-on-year. While the continued decline in US Top 50 employment is due, in large part, to changes in corporate structures and ownership – and not necessarily only to job eliminations – it can also be read as a warning about the conditions of Belgium’s labor market. Belgium boasts a highly skilled and multicultural workforce, but labor costs are high and the availability of talent shouldn’t be taken for granted.
US Top 50 Companies in Belgium - Ranked by Employees in 2015
|US Company (Belgian affiliates)||Employees (2015)||US Company (Belgian affiliates)||Employees (2015)|
|1. ManpowerGroup||13,308||26. Merck & Co (MSD) 1||948|
|2. Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Pharmaceutica)1||5,099||27. Aleris 1||948|
|3. McDonald's 1||3,347||28. Johnson Controls||918|
|4. Nike 2||2,996||29. Pepsico 2||909|
|5. Temco (Euroclean) 2||2,673||30. Baxalta 1||878|
|6. Robert Half||2,667||31. General Electric 1||859|
|7. Mohawk (Unilin) 2||2,666||32. Carlson (Radisson, Wagonlit Travel) 1||847|
|8. Balta 1, 4||2,576||33. FedEx||834|
|9. Coca-Cola 2||2,569||34. CEVA 2, 4||827|
|10. Mondelēz International 1||2,233||35. VF Europe 1||816|
|11. Paccar (DAF Trucks) 2||2,157||36. Monsanto 1||803|
|12. ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical 2||2,145||37. Eastman (Solutia, Taminco) 2||779|
|13. Procter & Gamble||2,098||38. McKesson||762|
|14. Pfizer 1||2,068||39. DuPont Belgium||751|
|15. Baxter 2||1,776||40. ON Semiconductor||722|
|16. Hewlett-Packard 1||1,728||41. WhiteWave (Alpro) 1||714|
|17. IBM||1,555||42. Ford 1||711|
|18. TE Connectivity||1,214||43. XPO 1||708|
|19. Caterpillar 3||1,195||44. Danaher 1||651|
|20. Cargill 2||1,157||45. Kellogg’s 1||643|
|21. UPS 1||1,142||46. The Bank of New York Mellon 2||639|
|22. Tenneco 1||1,104||47. 3M||632|
|23. Estée Lauder 2||1,074||48. Dow Corning Europe 1||620|
|24. Aviapartner 1, 4||1,060||49. Honeywell 1||610|
|25. Accenture 1||1,004||50. Cisco Systems 1||610|
1: Unconfirmed by company or partial confirmation
2: Information provided by company
3: The data was adapted to reflect the post 2015 changes in Gosselies, based on information provided by the company
4: Owned by a private equity firm. US employment may increase if other holdings are taken into account
With the changing labor market, talent is key and it should be easy for companies to find and hire the right people at home and from abroad. At home, Belgium should take steps to develop the right talent for the future. Innovation drives economic growth and competitiveness in the long run, and so it is important to foster a culture of creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship, starting from a young age. There is need for a broad supply of talent at all skill levels, including both ‘soft’ and technical (STEM or science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills.
To hire talent from abroad, companies should also be able to rely on a flexible corporate immigration system. The current system in Belgium, though fairly business-friendly, is still hindered by obstacles limiting competitiveness and overall economic growth. A quick transposition of the EU Single Permit Directive and the rapid adoption of the EU Intra-Corporate Transfer Directive are necessary to simplify international hiring.
AmCham Belgium acknowledges the success of recent decisions made by the Belgian Government to reshape the labor market, yet also believes further measures, in line with our 2017 Priorities for a Prosperous Belgium, are required to ensure US companies continue to say #Yes2Belgium, by investing in the Belgian economy and creating jobs, jobs, jobs!
Throughout the month of November, we are covering different aspects of the labor market, as presented in our 2017 Priorities for a Prosperous Belgium.