home > People > Employment

Industrial employment relatively stable

  • Over the last 30 years, employment in the chemical and life sciences industry has remained relatively stable, hovering around 90,000 jobs. This stability is remarkable bearing in mind the significant job reductions for manufacturing as a whole, with more than 380.000 jobs lost between 1980 and 2013.
  • In 2013, employment decreased in a less favourable macro-economic context. Despite this relapse, the sector has resisted relatively well; the share of employment of the chemical and life sciences industry as a percentage of total manufacturing has risen continuously: 11.1% in 1980, 15.4% in 2000, 17.5% in 2010 and 18.1% in 2013. This is well above the European average of 11% in 2013. This robustness can be attributed to the attraction of new investments and the ongoing efforts in product and process innovation.
  • Part-time working represented about 15% of total employment in the sector in 2013. About 75% of part-time employees work 4/5 time. An analysis based on companies’ social reports shows that 95.9% of employees in the sector have permanent employment contracts.
  • The number of white collar workers as a percentage of all those employed in the chemical and life sciences sector has shown a consistent upward trend: 55.9% in 2013 compared with 47.9% in 2000. According to a study by the University of Leuven (Prof. Sels, 2008), this increase can be explained by the industry’s high intra-sectoral mobility from blue collar to white collar. This trend shows that individual development and career growth opportunities exist in the sector. In comparison, white collar workers account for one third of all manufacturing jobs.

Bron: RSZ – gedecentraliseerde statistieken (aantal arbeidsplaatsen op 30 juni) Voor de ratios voor onrechtstreekse arbeidsplaatsen: Econopolis op basis van Input-Output tabellen van de Nationale Bank van België / Instituut voor de Nationale Rekeningen

  • The chemical and life sciences industry generates employment in other sectors in Belgium such as maintenance contracting, port activities, transport and logistics, and IT. A study by Econopolis (2011) based on official national data, showed that each direct job in the chemical and life sciences sector generates 1.6 indirect jobs in Belgium. In 2013, this meant a total of 233,000 direct and indirect jobs. This ratio – amongst the highest of any sector in Belgium – has increased steadily over the past decade, reflecting the sector’s growing impact on indirect employment, and enabling total employment in chemicals and life sciences to grow.

Sector initiatives

Dow Corning wins 2015 “Best Workplaces” award in Belgium

Dow Corning Corporation, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, has been named as one of the best places to work in Belgium. The company was ranked as one of the top ten companies with more than 500 employees by the Great Place To Work® Institute, an independent organization that studies the best places to work around the world.

The award marks the fourth time Dow Corning’s research and manufacturing site in Seneffe, Belgium, has been recognized as a great place to work. Employees’ trust and pride in the company and the level of camaraderie amongst colleagues were highlighted as particular strengths in the Institute’s survey of Seneffe employees.

Annick Meerschman, Seneffe site manager, commented: “Being recognized as a leading company in terms of workplace culture is a wonderful achievement. Participating in this award was a great way of hearing straight from our employees whether they feel the practices we’ve adopted match their needs and expectations. We want to ensure we continue this spirit of open and constructive dialogue so Dow Corning remains a great workplace for many more years.”

Dow Corning in Seneffe implements multiple initiatives to ensure high levels of employee satisfaction with their work environment and work-life balance. This allows the company to attract and retain high quality employees. Benefits include flexible working times, work time recuperation, seniority-based holidays, a competitive pension plan, a comprehensive medical coverage, as well as international career development opportunities.

In addition, Dow Corning strongly values and actively nurtures diversity. More than 20 different nationalities are represented on the Seneffe site, working in functions such as production, research & development, sales, marketing and engineering as well as supporting functions. This international work environment provides unique growth opportunities to employees.

Read More