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"Belgium in need of more international knowledge workers"

16 August 2017

Research conducted by Randstad shows that Belgium will need over 1 million new high educated knowledge workers, more than the population can produce. International knowledge workers are key in filling up vacant positions but Belgium isn't attractive enough for internationals ... yet.

The number of jobs for low-skilled workers has been decreasing year by year while jobs for knowledge workers have been on the rise. The researchers predicted that over the coming years (2013-2025) Belgium will need around 1,1 million knowledge workers. This due to the technological evolution which increases the demand for highly educated profiles.

An additional factor is the demographic ageing of Belgium's populus. "Many knowledge workers will be retiring in the coming decades and will need to be replaced. These profiles are not only wanted in the ICT sector but in the health and governmental sectors as well", Randstad's Jan Denys mentions.

Wanted: international knowledge workers

A large portion of these skilled workers will logically be found among the Belgian population. "By 2030, a little over 40% of Belgium's population will have some sort of a higher degree", Denys continues. The number of low-skilled individuals will fall under 20%. This puts Belgium at the top of Europe. Sweden and France also noted a remarkable increase of future knowledge workers among its own population.

Still, international knowledge workers will be needed to fill the gaps. Over the past ten years, Belgium has attracted many migrants and expats but, in comparison to other OECD countries, hasn't managed to increase the inflow of skilled workers among those migrants.

Leuven International House

But how do you attract international knowledge workers? This question has been raised in Leuven over a year ago. Leuven MindGate published a whitepaper 'Towards an outstanding working and living environment for international knowledge workers' which contains a study of the needs and practices for supporting international knowledge workers in the Leuven region. To put the matter into practice, Leuven MindGate started implementing the first steps of the whitepaper's ten point program.

One of these steps is the creation of a one-stop-shop and central hub for international knowledge workers in the Leuven region: the Leuven International House. Its goal is to address the issues shown by the survey, which can also be found in the whitepaper: assist the registration process and administration, help in the hunt for a house, start a buddy program, ... a one-stop shop for all information required. On top of that, this location will stimulate interaction between international workers and the local community. The International House will be fully operational by 2020.

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