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High Achievers from the Low Countries: How to Hire the Best Talent from Belgium

If you’re considering hiring abroad, Belgium should definitely be on your radar. Thanks to its location in the heart of Europe, its workers are inheritors of a rich history, diverse culture, and multilingual way of life.

With a population of approximately 11.5 million people, Belgium may seem small compared to its neighbors like France and Germany. However, it is a country of profound cultural diversity due to its three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. This linguistic mix reflects and informs the country’s traditions and culture. 

Belgium is also home to workers with particular talents in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, logistics, and information technology. The country’s strong emphasis on education has cultivated a highly skilled workforce with a reputation for being innovative, multilingual, and flexible. Furthermore, Belgium hosts numerous international organizations like NATO and the EU, which attracts a diverse pool of talent from all over the world.

When it comes to work culture, Belgium is similar to other European countries. The working week typically runs from Monday to Friday, with weekends off. Belgians value their work-life balance and the country has strong labor laws to protect employees’ rights. In addition, Belgium boasts an excellent healthcare system and high living standards. 

The benefits of doing business in Belgium

Let’s look a little closer at why Belgian talent is so desirable. Belgium is a highly developed country, blending industrial power with services expertise. Indeed, the services industry engages 40.6% of the country’s businesses, with the next biggest sector being finance, insurance, and real estate at 15.7%. The country is also home to numerous multinational corporations, including Pfizer, Toyota, and ExxonMobil. This industrial diversity and prowess only underlines Belgium’s attractiveness as a hiring location. 

In general, Belgium boasts a diversified economy with critical sectors encompassing metallurgy, steel, textiles, chemicals, glass, paper, and food processing. The country is also expected to see future growth in cleantech and renewables, according to a 2022 survey of decision makers. This spectrum of industries provides a wide array of opportunities for hiring from Belgium, catering to diverse business needs and skill requirements. 

Maybe you’d like to hire some of these talents via our competitive global employment platform, which features country-specific pricing so you can be sure to get the best deal whether you’re hiring in Belgium or beyond! The Multiplier platform makes the process effortless, with contract generation possible in under five minutes (seriously, we’ve timed it).

Other nuances for businesses to note when hiring in Belgium include the construction of attractive compensation packages. It’s crucial to get this right as offering the right employee benefits enhances retention, job satisfaction, and facilitates the attraction of top-notch Belgian talent. 

Read more about benefits and compensation in Belgium here!

Expanding-Workforce

We’ve still only scratched the surface of reasons to hire in Belgium. Here are three  takeaways you need to understand about the Belgian workforce.

  • Expanding Workforce: Belgium’s workforce is growing, with 72.2% of people aged 20-64 being employed as of the third quarter of 2023, showing an increase from previous quarters according to Statbel.
  • Services Masters: A significant 79.69% of Belgians work in the services sector–Most Belgians work in the public sector, but there is also significant representation in banking, law, media, retail, tourism, and transportation.
  • Flexible Working Hours: In 2022, the Belgian government introduced a labor market reform allowing workers to choose to work a four day work week, consisting of four 10 hour days. This flexibility could be beneficial for companies looking to hire remote workers who need to balance their work commitments with other responsibilities.

How does that sound? We know this is a lot of information to take into consideration. That’s why at Multiplier we pride ourselves on offering dedicated, 24/5 support tailored to specific countries–so you can sit back and relax in the knowledge that the professionals have things under control. 

Now you’re speaking their language

Picture this scenario: you’ve hired and onboarded talent from Belgium, and now you’re wondering what makes them tick. Consider these tips for effective communication with your Belgian colleagues, starting with the stuff that helps no matter where they’re based:

  1. Clear Communication: Clearly communicate job expectations, company culture, and goals to ensure alignment. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help keep everyone on the same page.
  2. Leverage Technology: Use technology to facilitate collaboration and communication. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Trello can help manage projects effectively.
  3. Integration: Make efforts to integrate remote workers into the company culture. Virtual team-building activities or occasional in-person meetings (if possible) can foster a sense of belonging.
  4. Legal Compliance: Ensure all employment contracts and practices comply with Belgian labor laws, even when hiring remotely. Luckily, with Multiplier, our easy-to-use platform ensures compliance is guaranteed, with automatic contract generation that dots the Is and crosses the Ts.

All well and good; but there’s no better way of connecting with a colleague than a watercooler chat. About sports, perhaps? In Belgium, the most popular sports include football (soccer to any Americans out there), cycling, tennis, running, field hockey, and swimming. Indeed, football is not just a game but a national passion, and Belgium’s national team, the Red Devils, have been active since the start of the 20th century. Cycling also holds a special place in many Belgians’ hearts, with many popular cycle races taking place, including disciplines such as track cycling and mountain bike racing.

Naturally, not all Belgians are sports nuts. Luckily, there are other icebreakers on offer. Belgium is known for its culinary delights, including world-famous chocolates, waffles, and over 1,000 varieties of beer. The country has a vibrant arts scene, producing many famous artists including surrealist painter René Magritte and Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. So whether you’re discussing the latest football match or sharing a Belgian chocolate, you’ll find plenty to talk about with your Belgian colleagues or candidates.

Speaking the truth

Of course, if you really want to impress your new hire, you could try picking up some Belgian terminology. In Belgium, with three official languages – Dutch/Flemish, French, and German – there are a variety of ways to say “hello” and “goodbye”. In Dutch, one might greet with “Goede morgen” and say goodbye with “Tot ziens“. In German, you’ll want to reach for “Hallo” and “Auf Wiedersehen”. And If you’re speaking French, you might use “Salut” for hello and “Au revoir” for goodbye.

Moving on to work terminology, the language you’re most likely to hear will depend on the region and the industry. In the Dutch-speaking Flanders region, for instance, you might hear phrases like “Het is druk” meaning “It’s busy”. In the French-speaking Wallonia region, meanwhile, common phrases might include “Je suis au travail” for “I am at work”, or “réunion” for meeting.

When it comes to tech terminology, once again the language used will vary depending on the region. Frankly, such is the level of English proficiency in the country (7th out of 113 countries worldwide, don’t you know?), that you’re better off just plowing ahead with the English terms. After all, 55% of the Belgian population can speak English conversationally.

Did you know?

Now that we’ve got the serious business out of the way, let’s have a quick look at some Belgian fun facts.

Belgium is one of the smallest yet most densely populated countries in Europe and has been an independent nation since 1830. The country has six governments – a federal government and five regional ones. Perhaps because of this complex system, Belgium once set the world record for the longest period without a government, at 589 days.

Belgium has given the world many notable figures. For lovers of the saxophone, most notable among them is surely Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the instruments, who was born in Dinant in 1814. Today, global audiences may be more familiar with the Belgian actor (and splits GOAT) Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Finally, we come to the best bit of all: the food. Let’s start with a controversial one in “French fries”, which the Belgians insist they invented, and more to the point, perfected. But perhaps the most iconic part of Belgian cuisine is the country’s beer culture. With around 1,500 varieties of beer produced in the country, there’s a brew for every palate.

Hungry for more Belgium info?

We’ve got you covered! So far we’ve talked about the big picture, but our talent wiki page contains all the nitty gritty information you need to make your Belgium hiring plans an astronomical success. Click the link for details on statutory leave, public holidays, talent sourcing locations, and much, much more!

Taxes: 

  • Employers must contribute 27%.

Employee benefits:

  • Social Security
  • Pension Insurance
  • 13th Month Salary
  • Maternity Leave
  • Paternity Leave
  • Holiday Bonus
  • Annual and other leaves
  • Healthcare and Insurance

Visa requirements:

  • Belgium allows the citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work freely in the country. A work and/or residence permit is needed for other citizens to work in the country.
Services-Masters (1)

Make international employment possible with Multiplier

And that’s the lowdown on hiring in Belgium. Now you’ve heard the benefits, make your dreams a reality with Multiplier. We’re here to help businesses boost their productivity with exceptional global talent, whether from Belgium or anywhere else!

Our presence in over 100 countries worldwide showcases the breadth of expertise we possess. Multiplier is a one-stop solution for all your global hiring needs, so why not talk to our experts and book a demo today?

Will Smith
Will Smith

Content Writer

Will is a content writer at Multiplier. With a background in technology journalism, he is passionate about busting jargon, getting to the heart of complex topics, and (hopefully) writing pieces you'll enjoy reading.

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