Core Facts

  • Population:  11.4M
  • GDP:  USD 455 billion
  • GDP per head:  USD 45,150
  • Workforce:  4M
  • Unemployment (2017):  6.9%
  • High skilled monthly wages (2017):  USD 3,342


Belgian employment relations are strongly regulated and highly evolved, which is perhaps fitting for a country whose capital is at Europe’s political heart. Although a small country, Belgium’s federal status and clear economic and political divide between service and agriculture-driven, Dutch speaking Flanders to the north and French-speaking post-industrial Wallonia to the south can make governing it, and its employment affairs, something of a challenge.

Works councils and trade unions are very prevalent, but employers are also organised across industries or sectors. While notice periods are often long and termination procedures can be technical and tricky, employees certainly do not get everything their own way: income taxes in Belgium are amongst the highest in the world.