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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 and life sciences sector in Belgium is an important indicator of its impact on the country’s economy and society.

With more than 95,500 direct jobs and 220,000 indirect jobs, the chemicals and life sciences industry is a key provider of employment in Belgium. Each job in the sector accounts for more than two indirect jobs in other sectors (in maintenance contracting, port activities, transport and logistics, IT, consultancy, finance, catering, etc.). Thanks to numerous investments and the continuous growth of companies in the sector, employment in the industry increased, up by more than 6,500 in the last five years.

Over the last 40 years, employment in the chemicals 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 share of chemicals and life sciences industry’s as a percentage of total manufacturing employment has risen continuously, from 11% in 1980 up to 20% in 2020, well above the European average of just 12% in 2018. 

An analysis based on companies’ social reports shows that part-time working represented about 16% of total employment in the sector in 2019, with about 11% of men and 30% of women in the industry opting to work part-time. This is comparable to the 9% of men and 33% of women who work part-time in the Belgian manufacturing industry as a whole  . 

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 and life sciences sector is also rising, up from 48% in 2000 to 60% in 2020.