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Employment rate

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Almost 77% of Flemish population aged 20 to 64 at work

In 2023, the of the population aged 20 to 64 in the Flemish Region amounted to 76.8%. This means that 76.8% of the people aged 20 to 64 had a paid job. The employment rate increased from 67.9% in 1999 to 75.5% in 2019. In 2020 there was a slight decrease to 74,7%, followed by an increase in 2021-2022 and a stabilisation in 2023.

Highest employment rate among highly educated and couples with children

The employment rate among men was 80.3% in 2023. That is clearly higher than for women (73.3%). The employment rate among women (+6.4 percentage points (ppt)) has risen more sharply since 2013 than among men (+3.5 ppt). Consequently, the gender gap in employment rates fell from 9.9 ppt in 2013 to 7.1 ppt in 2023.

The employment rate of people aged 55 to 64 in 2023 was much lower than that of the other age groups. The employment rate of the group aged 55 to 64 did increase the most: from 42.9% in 2013 to 60.8% in 2023.

The employment rate increases as the level of education increases. The employment rate among the low-educated in 2023 was 52.6%, compared with 78.0% among the medium-educated and 90.8% among the high-educated. Among both the medium- and high-educated, the employment rate increased between 2013 and 2023 (+0.4 ppt. and +4.4 ppt. respectively). Among the low-educated, it remained stable.

Broken down by household position, the employment rate in 2023 was highest among cohabiting partners with children (87.1%) and lowest among persons living with parents (56.7%). Among cohabiting partners with children, the employment rate increased the most between 2013 and 2023 (+10.3ppt).

Persons with impairment during their daily activities due to a disability or long-term health problem are much less likely to be at work than those without impairment. In 2023, the employment rate for persons with impairment was 47.3%, compared with 81.9% for persons without impairment. Among both persons with and without impairment, the employment rate increased compared to 2013 (+6.9 ppt. and +5.0 ppt. respectively).

Finally, there are also differences by country of birth. In 2023, the employment rate for persons born outside the European Union (EU27) was 63.4%, compared with 78.6% for persons born in Belgium and 76.3% for persons born in another EU27 country. Among persons born outside the EU27, the employment rate increased the most between 2013 and 2023 (+8.1ppt). Among persons born in Belgium and those born in another EU27 country, this increase is slightly more limited (+5.2 ppt. and +6.2 ppt. respectively).

Flemish employment rate slightly above EU average

In 2022, the Flemish employment rate (76.7%) was distinctly higher than in the other Belgian regions. In the Walloon Region it stood at 65.7%, in the Brussels Capital Region at 65.2% and in Belgium as a whole at 71,9%.

The employment rate in the European Union (EU27) was on average 74.6% in 2022. The Flemish Region thus performed slightly better than the EU27 average.
The Netherlands had the highest employment rate (82.9%), followed by Sweden (82.2%) and Estonia (81.9%). Italy had the lowest employment rate (64.8%), followed by Greece (66.3%) and Romania (68.5%).

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