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Belgium 49th (out of 75) on the ManpowerGroup Total Workforce Index ™

Belgium drops 24 places compared to the 2017 ranking

Brussels, April 30, 2019 – ManpowerGroup releases the second edition of its global workforce ranking (Total Workforce Index ™). This index measures the relative ease of sourcing, hiring and retaining a workforce in competing labor markets around the world. To achieve this, ManpowerGroup's experts have compiled more than 90 key labor market factors (data collected in 2018) in 75 countries, divided into 4 categories: skill availability, labor cost, regulatory framework and productivity. Belgium stands 49th (out of 75) in this ranking worldwide and 31st (out of 40) in the EMEA region, registering a significant decline compared to the previous edition.

Today’s business environment is as complex as it is unpredictable. Technological disruption opens new opportunities for businesses to grow and create value, provided they transform and have the skills needed to remain competitive today and tomorrow. The emergence of new skills and new talent pools, together with fresh ways of working and getting work done, mean companies have more options than ever when identifying where and how to build their contingent and permanent workforces. Yet, shifting regulatory frameworks, overwhelming amounts of workforce data and changing skill requirements add layers of complexity to decision-making. The right combination of data and insights enables companies to make better and faster choices about where to locate their workforces with greater market transparency.

A unique formula to analyze 90 criteria

Based on a rigorous methodology and using a proprietary formula, the tool developed by ManpowerGoup measures the attractiveness of the labor and labor markets of 75 countries around the world, by examining the hiring conditions, management and retention of talent that companies need to grow (figures 2018). The study also establishes a separate classification for workers employed under permanent contracts and under a flexible employment contract (temporary, fixed-term contracts, etc.). The country with the highest score on this index is the one with the most attractive job market.

Globally, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom top the list. At the European level, the top places are occupied by the United Kingdom, Ireland, Estonia, Denmark and Sweden. Belgium ranks 49th (out of 75) in this ranking worldwide and 31st (out of 40) in the EMEA region, registering a significant decrease of 24 places worldwide and 17 places in the EMEA region.

Compared with other European countries, with its 49th place, Belgium ranks well behind the United Kingdom (5th), Germany (15th), the Netherlands (21st), Switzerland (25th), Spain (32nd) but ahead of Luxembourg (59th), Italy (64th) or France (67th). Our country ranks 45th in the Standing Workforce Index and 53rd in the Workforce Index (Contingent Workforce Index).

Strengths and weaknesses of Belgium

Despite the reforms made in recent years to improve the performance of our labor market, our country has registered a sharp drop in the ranking established by ManpowerGroup. The decline in Belgium is explained less by a decline in the performance of our country on the criteria studied, than by the faster growth of other countries, mainly in Eastern Europe but also in Germany, Vietnam and Japan. In what is now a global labor market, the cost of labor or the insufficient number of workers available due to talent shortages or a low activity rate continue to weigh down the attractiveness of our country. 

Philippe Lacroix, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup Belux

On the other hand, the ManpowerGroup report highlights the quality of the workforce, which remains the main asset of our country: the percentage of highly qualified workers has increased from 44.8% (2017) to 46.5% (2018) whilst the number of R&D specialists per 1000 has increased from 13.43 (2017) to 15.91 (2018). English Proficiency has also increased by 1% to 60%. Despite a decline of 7 places, our country also holds an honourable 31st place (out of 144) in terms of gender equality in the labor market.

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About the Total Workforce Index™

The Total Workforce Index™ (TWI) uses a proprietary formula to measure the relative ease of sourcing, hiring and retaining a workforce in 75 labor markets around the world. The TWI compiles more than 90 key factors which relate to the Availability, Cost Efficiency, Regulation and Productivity of the workforce of each country. Unlike any other Workforce Index, the Total Workforce Index™ considers the entire workforce and not a single segment of the workforce in each country. The inclusion of the complete workforce allows for segmentation to review and analyze the contingent and permanent workforce considerations, in addition to the sum of these two workforce segments. The index analyzes in depth more than 90 criteria published in 2018 by international organizations such as the World Bank, the OECD or the World Economic Forum, but also data collected by ManpowerGroup worldwide.

The tool helps companies in their strategic decisions by objectively identifying the most favorable conditions for human resources management. This may involve the development of resource planning, expansion, merger and acquisition programs, or the introduction of new organizational models or cost reduction programs.

The Total Workforce Index analyzes four dimensions of the labor market based on 90 criteria:

  • The availability of workforce takes into account the size of the labor force, the literacy rate, the unemployment rate, demography, training, language skills, gender gaps, etc.
    Belgium is 20th in the world (decline of 2 places)
  • The cost of labor includes many variables such as the average monthly wage, labor taxes, the cost of overtime, equal pay between men and women, and so on.
    Belgium occupies the 68th place in the world (decline of 3 places)
  • Productivity assesses the productivity potential of the workforce based on daily and weekly working hours, night work, overtime, paid holidays, labor market efficiency, infrastructure, internet connections etc.
    Belgium is ranked 58th in the world (decline of 5 places)
  • The regulatory framework measures the ease of hiring or firing staff and the impact of legal provisions on the cost of labor and the retention and recruitment processes. This includes contract durations, notice or severance pay, pension age. This factor also takes into account risks (terrorist, financial etc.), political contexts (Global Peace Index / Global Terrorism Index), and red tape (Ease of Doing Business) etc.
    Belgium is 19th in the world (decline of 9 places)

About ManpowerGroup®

ManpowerGroup® (NYSE: MAN), the leading global workforce solutions company, helps organizations transform in a fast-changing world of work by sourcing, assessing, developing and managing the talent that enables them to win. We develop innovative solutions for hundreds of thousands of organizations every year, providing them with skilled talent while finding meaningful, sustainable employment for millions of people across a wide range of industries and skills. Our expert family of brands – Manpower®, Experis®, ManpowerGroup® Solutions , FuturSkill®, Proservia™ et Right Management®– creates substantially more value for candidates and clients across 80 countries and territories and has done for 70 years. In 2019, ManpowerGroup was named one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies for the seventeenth year and one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for the ninth year in 2018, confirming our position as the most trusted and admired brand in the industry. In Belgium, ManpowerGroup Belgium wins HR Excellence Award 2018 in the category ‘Best Staffing, Sourcing & Contingent Workforce Management Company’.
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