As revealed in the latest edition of the Robert Walters European Salary Survey, levels of hiring activity across all disciplines remained high as Belgium continued to experience strong levels of economic growth.
Özlem Simsek, Managing Director at Robert Walters Belgium, briefly summarises what happened in 2018 and outlines what to expect in the Belgian recruitment market in the year ahead.
Looking back at 2018
Özlem: “In 2018, particularly the interim management market grew rapidly, most notably in the fields of finance, operations (production and supply chain) and project management.
Despite this, drawn-out recruitment processes remained a key challenge as employers had to contend with candidate shortages across the board. As a result, we saw companies committing to hiring permanent staff at a faster rate than previous years. The financial services sector continued to perform well, with employers placing high value on top talent from a ‘Big 4’ background. Auditors, risk managers and compliance officers remained in demand, as well as IT professionals, as the presence of digitalisation within the banking sector continued to play a prominent role in new projects and we expect this will continue in the year ahead.
Competition between firms all seeking ‘similar types’ of candidates resulted in roles being filled at a much slower rate than usual in the past year. Companies struggled to recruit for junior finance roles as more candidates chose to take sabbatical leave, travel or continue further education after obtaining their qualifications. In turn, there was an increase in hiring levels for senior candidates as companies sought to fill roles with qualified and experienced professionals.”
Outlook for 2019
“2019 looks set to be another strong year for the economy, with a number of businesses gearing up to expand. As a result, we will see an increase in business support roles from administrative and HR to customer service and logistics. As ever, support staff with foreign language skills, in particular Dutch, French and English will be highly desirable.
The trend for hiring interim managers is expected to continue in 2019, with a high demand in finance and operations. Candidates with experience in optimisation projects and those who posses strong project management skills will be of high value.
Competition for top talent will continue to be the driving force for how businesses recruit. In what looks set to be another candidate short market, employers will need to act fast to ensure a rapid recruitment process.
Our advice to companies and hiring managers is to be flexible and to not overlook candidates who do not quite fit the job description. Instead, they should consider candidates with transferable skills who illustrate the potential to be fast learners that can be trained-up. Investing in employees will also help with retention levels.
Due to the increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented professionals, companies will need to look at how to add more value to roles. Added incentives’ such as flexible working, workplace environment and social events will play an even more prominent role in candidates' decision-making”, says Özlem.
About the European Salary Survey
The 20th edition of the Robert Walters annual Salary Survey provides a comprehensive overview of salaries and recruitment trends across Europe and is based on the analysis of permanent, interim and contract placements made across each of our geographies and recruitment disciplines during 2018, and our predictions for the year ahead.
If you would like to find out more about salaries and recruitment trends in your industry, call one of our specialist consultants today.