Employment rate

  • Almost 75% of Flemish population aged 20 to 64 have a job

    In 2020, the employment rate of the population aged 20 to 64 in the Flemish Region amounted to 74.7%. This means that 74.7% of those aged 20 to 64 had a paid job. The employment rate increased from 67.3% in 1999 to 75.5% in 2019. In 2020 there was a slight decrease compared to 2019.

  • Employment rate of women showing a sharper increase than that of men

    The employment rate among Flemish men was 77.1% in 1999 and 78.5% in 2020. The percentage of women in work rose from 57.3% in 1999 to 70.9% in 2020.

  • Lowest employment rate but strongest increase among over 55s

    In the whole period from 1999 to 2020 the employment rate of persons aged of 55 to 64 was much lower than that of the other age groups. But employment increased strongest in this group: from 23.7% in 1999 to 55.7% in 2020. The percentage of those in work in the 45 to 54 age group rose from 68.4% in 1999 to 85.6% in 2019, followed by a slight decrease to 84.7% in 2020. The employment rate of those from 35 to 44 year old increased from 83.7% in 1999 to 88.1% in 2018 but decreased slightly to 87.2% in 2020. Lastly, for young people aged 20 to 34, the employment rate dropped from 76.9% in 1999 to 73.0% in 2020.

  • Lowest employment rate among the low educated

    Over the whole period, there are considerable differences according to educational attainment level. The employment rate among the low educated in the 25 to 64 age group stood at 53.7% in 2020. For medium educated persons the employment rate stood at 77.3% in 2020 and for high educated persons at 88.1%.

  • Highest employment rate among couples with children

    In 2020 the employment rate among single persons without children was 70.4%. In 2012, that percentage stood at 66.8%. The employment rate for single persons with children rose from 65.8% in 2012 to 72.9% in 2019 but fell in 2020 to 67.3%. Couples without dependent children had an employment rate of 69.9% in 2020, compared to 61.5% in 2012. For couples with dependent children, the employment rate rose from 79.8% in 2012 to 81.1% in 2019, slightly lower than in 2019. The employment rate of this group was much higher in the 2012-2020 period than for the other household types.

  • Very low employment rate among persons with impediment due to disabilities or prolonged health problems

    In 2020, the employment rate of people with impediment due to a disability or long-term health problem was 46.0% compared to 37.5% in 2009. For persons without a disability, the employment rate rose from 76.0% in 2009 to 80.2% in 2020.

  • Lower employment rate among persons born outside the European Union

    In 2020, the employment rate of persons who were born outside the European Union (EU28) was 59.2% compared to 51.4% in 1999. For persons born in Belgium, the employment rate rose from 73.1% in 2007 to 76.3% in 2020. The employment rate for persons born in another EU28 country was 76.1% in 2020 compared to 64.3% in 2007.

  • Flemish employment rate slightly above EU average

    In 2020, the Flemish employment rate (74.7%) was distinctly higher than in the other Belgian regions. In the Walloon Region it stood at 64.6%, in the Brussels Capital Region at 61.3% and in Belgium as a whole at 70,0%.

    The employment rate in the European Union (EU27) was on average 72.3% in 2020. The Flemish Region performed slightly better than the EU27 average. Sweden had the highest employment rate (80.8%) in 2020, followed by the Netherlands (80.0%) and Germany (80.0%). Greece had the lowest employment rate (61.1%), preceded by Italy (62.6%) and Spain (65.7%).


Statbel: Employment And Unemployment 
Eurostat: Database 


Employment rate: the share of working persons in the total population of a given age group, according to the provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Persons are considered to be working if they have performed at least one hour of paid work in the reference week or if they were not working during the reference week but had a job or business where they were temporarily absent.

Publication date

8 April 2021

Next update

April 2022

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