Some 70% of all Belgians aged between 20 and 64, have a job today. If we want eight out of ten people to work by 2030, we will need 600,000 extra jobs. That is what a study by technology federation Agoria has taught us about the Belgian labour market. "Our competitiveness is crucial in this respect. We can lose markets with the relaunch from the coronavirus period, but we can certainly win also," says Bart Steukers, Context director of Agoria.


Agoria's analysis means that the economy has to be running at full speed so that the need for extra people can actually be materialize. "Only if we can record pure annual average growth of 1.5% of everything we produce in our country in goods and services (GDP), will this need for 600,000 people arise between now and 2030," says Bart Steukers, who is a member of the board of directors of the VDAB and is also set to become CEO of Agoria as of 1 April 2021.

A second challenge consists of managing to address the created demand effectively with well-trained people. To this end, Agoria is looking at groups of people who are under-represented on our labour market. For women (66.5%), young people (60.9%), the elderly (32.8%), the low-skilled (46.3%), people with a migration background (43.5%) or people with a disability, the employment rate is still miles away from the target 80%. Agoria is calling on companies, governmental authorities, employment agencies and the people themselves to remove as many obstacles as possible to finding or keeping a job.

"Rising productivity is not synonymous with harder work”

Agoria sees the third challenge in increasing the added value of our work. Agoria combines this with working with an eye for efficiency and results, but also with meaningful work under safe, comfortable and motivating conditions. "Increasing productivity is not synonymous with working harder. You get a lot out of work done first and foremost with the right tools and by knowing how to make optimal use thereof. Constant curiosity and continuous training to make good use of technology in your job are both a prerequisite and a guarantee for that job to be more comfortable and more efficient," says Bart Steukers.

In the coming weeks and months, Agoria will support even more people and companies to meet the challenges of the future. The DigiCoach programme is intended to help companies with their digitization. Anyone can complete the DigiSkills Passport to find out which skills they need to succeed and continue to thrive in a certain role in a digitizing labour market. And the Benchmarking Talent Scans addresses the question 'how do I choose the right scan to find out what the strengths, behavioural preferences, personality traits, drives, needs and motivators of my employees are?’

220,000 additional jobs since the launch of Be The Change in 2018

In 2018, Agoria, together with the employment agencies VDAB, Forem and Actiris, produced 'Be The Change', the first in-depth study that charted the development of the labour market in our country until 2030. The political credo 'jobs, jobs, jobs' began to ring louder and louder during that period. More than 220,000 extra people went to work in the meantime. According to Agoria, this figure proves that our economy needs extra hands even in a digitizing world, but also, as Agoria sees it, that 'Be The Change' is an appeal that is being heard: more and more people are brushing up their skills and getting to work.

Fuelled by the coronavirus that has eaten away at our health and economy, the new governments and parliaments are also issuing the 'Be The Change' call and adapting policy. The federal coalition agreement sets the explicit objective of moving towards an employment rate of 80% by 2030. Eight out of ten people between 20 and 64 should be in work soon.

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