Employment rate

  • 74.6% of Flemish population aged 20 - 64 in work

    In 2018, the employment rate of the population aged between 20 and 64 in the Flemish Region amounted to 74.6%. This means that 74.6% of those between the ages of 20 and 64 have a paid job. The employment rate has risen in recent years: in 1999 the percentage still stood at 67.3%.  

  • 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 2018. The percentage of women in work rose from 57.3% in 1999 to 70.7% in 2018.  

  • Lowest employment rate but strongest increase among over 55s

    In the whole period from 1999 to 2018 the employment rate of persons between the ages of 55 and 64 was much lower than that of the other age groups. But employment increased strongest in this group: from 23.7% in 1999 to 52.5% in 2018.  

    The percentage of those in work in the 45 to 54 age group rose from 68.4% in 1999 to 85.6% in 2018.  

    The employment rate of those between 35 and 44 rose from 83.7% in 1999 to 88.1% in 2018.  

    Lastly, for young people between 20 and 34, the employment rate dropped from 76.9% in 1999 to 73.3% in 2018.  

  • 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 52.4% in 2018, whereas it stood at respectively 78.1% and 88.5% for medium educated and high educated persons.  

  • Highest employment rate among couples with children

    In 2018 the employment rate among single persons without children was 70.5%. In 1999, that percentage still stood at 62.7%. The employment rate for single persons with children rose from 62.8% in 1999 to 70.0% in 2018. Couples without children had an employment rate of 67.6% in 2018 compared to 52.0% in 1999. For couples with children, the employment rate rose from 77.4% in 1999 to 81.8% in 2018. 

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

    In 2018, the employment rate of people with impediment due to a disability or long-term health problem was 45.8% compared to 37.5% in 1999. For persons without a disability, the employment rate rose from 76.0% in 1999 to 80.1% in 2018. 

  • Lower employment rate among persons born outside the EU

    In 2018, the employment rate of persons who were born outside the European Union (EU) was 61.2% compared to 51.4% in 1999. For persons born in Belgium, the employment rate rose from 73.1% in 1999 to 76.2% in 2018. The employment rate for persons born in another EU country was 72.4% in 2018 compared to 64.3% in 2007.  

  • Flemish employment rate slightly above EU average

    In 2018, the Flemish employment rate (74.6%) was distinctly higher than in the other Belgian regions. In the Walloon Region it stood at 63.7%; in the Brussels Capital Region at 61.4%. 

    The employment rate in the European Union (EU) was on average 73.1% in 2018. The Flemish Region performed slightly better than the EU average. Sweden had the highest employment rate (82.6%), followed by Germany and the Czech Republic (both countries achieved 79.9%). Greece had the lowest employment rate in 2018 (59.5%), preceded by Italy (63.0%) and Croatia (65.2%). 


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

23 April 2019

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