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ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey – MEOS Q1 2019

Belgian employers optimistic as they look ahead to 2019
Positive hiring plans for Q1/2019 in all three regions and in all 10 sectors
surveyed by ManpowerGroup

  • Belgian Net Employment Outlook shows a positive value for the seventh consecutive quarter and stands at the same level as the previous quarter +6
  • Outlooks are positive in all three regions: +6 in Flanders, +3 in Brussels and in Wallonia.
  • Job gains are anticipated in all 10 industry sectors during Q1 2019
  • Large and Medium-size employers report healthy hiring intentions with Net Employment Outlooks of +28 and +24, respectively
  • Payroll gains are expected in 43 of 44 countries and territories surveyed in the world and in all 26 countries in the EMEA region( Europe, Middle East and Africa)
  • Download or read the full, latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook report in our new ManpowerGroup Knowledge Center. Also download our infographic (

Brussels, 11th December 2018 – According to ManpowerGroup’s Outlook published today, recruitment activity should maintain the same pace during the first quarter of 2019. At national level, 8% of the 752 Belgian employers interviewed by ManpowerGroup at the end of October expect to increase staffing levels between now and the end of the year, whereas only 3% plan to reduce staff. 86% of employers included in the survey forecast no change. After seasonal adjustment, the Net Employment Outlook – the difference between the percentage of employers expecting to hire staff and the percentage of those planning to reduce staff – stands at an optimistic +6, the same level as in the previous quarter. When compared with this time one year ago, employers report an improvement of 3 percentage points.

"Our survey reports a positive Outlook for the 7th consecutive quarter and employers’ hiring plans came to fruition with steady recruiting throughout 2018, mainly in the private sector", explains Philippe Lacroix, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup BeLux. "Today, despite a slight slow-down in the temporary work market, the dynamics within the recruitment market are intensifying. Due to labour shortages, employers struggle to recruit and so are more willing to offer permanent contracts in an attempt to capture the talent they need." Looking ahead, Philippe Lacroix advises caution: "These optimistic forecasts could be quickly shelved as uncertainty continues to prevail in the geopolitical context, whether due to the political situation in Belgium, Brexit or the economic climate in general."

Optimism in all three regions

Payrolls are forecast to increase in all three regions during Q1 2019. The hiring pace is expected to be stronger in Flanders with a Net Employment Outlook of +6, while Outlooks stand at +3% in both Brussels and Wallonia. When compared with the previous quarter, hiring plans decline by 3 percentage points in both Brussels and Wallonia. Meanwhile, Flanders employers report no change.

Positive Outlooks in all 10 industry sectors

Employers in all 10 industry sectors expect to add to payrolls during the upcoming quarter. The strongest labor market is forecast for the Mining & Quarrying sector, where the Net Employment Outlook stands at +12, its strongest level in more than seven years. There are encouraging hiring plans in several key sectors, including Construction (+9), Transport, Storage & Communications (+7), Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector (+6) and Hotels, Restaurants and Catering (+5). Meanwhile, Outlooks are more subdued in the Public & Social Services sector (+4), in the Manufacturing sector and the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector (both at +2).
In comparison with the previous quarter, hiring prospects strengthen in four of the 10 industry sectors and weaken in five sectors. The year-over-year comparison also shows an increase in eight sectors.

Hiring foreseen in large and medium-sized businesses

Employers forecast an increase in payrolls for all four organization size categories during the coming quarter. Large (250 or more employees) and Medium-size (50-249 employees) employers report healthy hiring plans with Net Employment Outlooks of +28 and +24, respectively. Elsewhere, the Micro employer (< 10 employees) Outlook stands at +4, while Small employers (10-49 employees) report an Outlook of +3.

Positive hiring intentions in 43 of 44 countries and territories surveyed

ManpowerGroup interviewed over 60,000 employers across 44 countries and territories to forecast labour market activity in Quarter 1 2019.
  • Employers forecast varying levels of job gains in 43 of 44 countries and territories during the January-March time frame, with only employers in Argentina (-4) showing a negative Outlook. Hiring intentions for the coming quarter are stronger in 16 of 44 countries and territories when compared with the prior quarter, weaken in 23 and are unchanged in five. In a comparison with this time one year ago, Outlooks improve in 21 countries and territories, decline in 20, and are unchanged in two**
  • Strongest and weakest hiring plans: First-quarter hiring confidence is strongest in Japan (+27), Taiwan (+21) and the U.S. (+20), where the Outlook is the strongest since 2006, while employers in Argentina report the weakest and the only negative hiring intentions (-4). During the first quarter of 2019, the hiring climate in India (+12) is expected to be broadly in line with the final quarter of 2018, while Chinese employers (+10) report an improvement on the previous quarter
  • Job gains are expected for all 26 Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region countries in the survey during the first quarter of 2019. In comparison to last quarter, employers in eight countries report stronger hiring prospects, but hiring plans weaken in 15. When compared with the same period last year, forecasts strengthen in 12 countries but decline in 13. The strongest EMEA labor markets in the coming quarter are anticipated in Slovenia (+19) and Greece (+18). Employers in Europe’s four largest economies expect first-quarter job gains. For the fifth consecutive quarter, German employers (+8) report that group’s strongest hiring plans, followed by UK employers (+6). In France (+4), hiring sentiment is slightly stronger both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year while Italian employers report the most confident hiring plans in eight years (+3). Netherlands’ Outlook declines for the third consecutive quarter (+4). Employers in Switzerland report the most cautious hiring plans in the region (+2).
The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on 12th March 2019 to report hiring expectations for the second quarter of 2019.
(*) Net Employment Outlook.” This figure is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting to see a decrease in employment at their location in the next quarter. The result of this calculation is the Net Employment Outlook. Net Employment Outlooks for countries and territories that have accumulated at least 17 quarters of data are reported in a seasonally adjusted format unless otherwise stated.
(** ) Since Croatia joined the survey in the second quarter of 2018, the annual comparison is not yet available

Presentation of the Survey

The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2019 was conducted between 17th and 30st October 2018 by interviewing a representative sample of employers from more than 60,000 private companies and public organizations in 44 countries and territories around the world (755 in Belgium). The aim of the survey is to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. All survey participants were asked the same question: “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of March 2019 as compared to the current quarter?” It is the only forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in its size, scope, longevity and area of focus. The Survey has been running for 55 years and is one of the most trusted surveys of employment activity in the world. It is considered a highly respected economic indicator.
Note that in Quarter 2 of 2008, the survey adopted the TRAMO-SEATS model for seasonal adjustment of data. As a result, you may notice some seasonally adjusted data points change slightly from previous reports. This model is recommended by the Eurostat department of the European Union and the European Central Bank and is widely used internationally.
Note to Editors
Full survey results for each of the 44 countries and territories included in this quarter’s survey, plus regional and global comparisons, can be found in the Manpower Press Room at In addition, all tables and graphs from the full report are available to be downloaded for use in publication or broadcast from the ManpowerGroup Online Visual Library, also located in the Press Room on
Results for all 43 countries can be viewed in the new interactive Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Explorer tool at
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 2018, ManpowerGroup was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for the ninth year and one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies for the sixteenth year, 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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