People – Employment

Share in industrial employment steadily increasing

Source: National Social Security Office - decentralised statistics (number of jobs on 30th June)

The employment created by the chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector in Belgium is an important indicator of its impact on the country’s economy and society.

With nearly 90,000 direct jobs and some 145,000 indirect jobs (in maintenance contracting, port activities, transport and logistics, IT, consultancy, finance, catering, etc.), the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry is a key provider of employment in Belgium. Thanks to numerous investments and the continuous growth of companies in the sector, employment in the industry in 2015 increased, up by 700 on the previous year.

Over the last 35 years, employment in the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry has remained relatively stable. This stability is remarkable bearing in mind the significant job losses in manufacturing industry as a whole over the same period. As a result, , the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry’s share of employment as a percentage of total manufacturing has risen continuously, up from 11% in 1980 to 19% in 2015 – well above the European average of just 11% in 2015. This robustness reflects Belgium’s attractiveness as a place for investments in the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry, thanks to its location, the proximity of its universities and knowledge centres, and its long history in Belgium.

Source: National Social Security Office - decentralised statistics (number of jobs on 30th June)

Part-time working represented about 16% of total employment in the sector in 2015, with about 10% of men and 30% of women in the industry opting to work part-time. This is comparable to the 9% of men and 36% of women who work part-time in the Belgian manufacturing industry as a whole.

An analysis based on companies’ social reports shows that 96% of employees in the sector have permanent employment contracts, demonstrating the industry’s engagement in offering long-term employment opportunities. The percentage of white collar workers in the chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector is also rising, up from 47.9% in 2000 to 57.3% in 2015.

Sector Initiatives

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