- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Belgium Guide (PDF)
Many expats move to Belgium in order to work in the country's open economy, which punches far above its geographic weight. Despite having relatively high taxes, Belgium continues to attract job-seeking expats keen to enjoy the high quality of life it offers.
Job market in Belgium
Belgium has a strong manufacturing sector, but the services sector still accounts for the largest part of its economy. The country’s main exports include automobiles, metals, plastics, food products, finished diamonds and petroleum products.
While the job market is highly competitive in general, many English-speaking companies in Belgium are either connected with the European Union or with NATO. These institutions are in themselves extremely competitive and tend to offer attractive employee benefits.
Finding work in Belgium
Expats are most likely to be employed in the services or manufacturing sectors, especially in the capital, Brussels. Those with the best chance of finding a job in Belgium work in specialised areas where there is a shortage of personnel such as engineers, technicians, mechanics, accountants, certain IT specialists and qualified teachers.
Foreign job applicants who can either speak French or Dutch will have an added advantage over those who cannot, especially when looking for work outside of Brussels. In fact, it might be difficult to find a job if one doesn't speak the predominant language of the region.
Work culture in Belgium
Belgium is in the heart of Europe and offers expats a diverse, multicultural working environment. Belgian business culture is largely influenced by Dutch, German and French business structures and etiquette.
The business environment in Belgium is fast-paced and demanding. The local workforce is known for being skilled, productive and multilingual. Expats will do well to learn a few phrases in the local languages and keep an open mind towards any new business practices they may encounter.
►For more on business etiquette and working in Belgium, read Doing Business in Belgium
►Visas for Belgium gives an overview of different visa options for foreigners
"The languages I find causes issues, nobody is speaking their first language all of the time and I see a lot of miscommunications. It’s not unusual for someone to ask something in Flemish and get an answer in French; very weird." Scottish expat David splits his time between Brussels during the week and England on the weekend. Read more about his experiences in his expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Belgium?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Belgium. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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