Belgian food industry under the microscope!

The food industry has become the largest industrial sector in Belgium and is growing sustainably.
This ultimate SME sector (96 % out of 4,282 employers have less than 100 employees) has a strong future in this country. Abroad, too, the regard our food industry as innovative, quality and diverse, with beer and chocolate as the triggers for all our food products.

Before 2018, there was a period of 9 years of continuous growth. However, that year closed with total sales of 51.8 billion, down 0.8 % from 2017. Reasons for that decline then were "a whole host of taxes," a drop in domestic sales and smaller growth in exports. However, the sector has other factors that are driving the growth can obstruct:

  • The labor cost handicap (21 % relative to neighboring countries)
  • Energy cost
  • A staff shortage to fill the many vacancies

The unemployment in this country affects mostly lower- and middle-skilled people but paradoxically, the many vacancies are not getting filled despite the highest employment of low-skilled people in food.

The employer image also needs to be boosted. The image of unpleasant work for low pay has long since ceased to be true. Recent graduates look first and foremost to the chemical sector, for example, but the food sector is also highly technological and offers room for many technical profiles such as production operators, refrigeration technicians, electrical technicians, and so on...
Thorough communication about this is necessary.

The corona pandemic in addition, after record results in 2019, sales fell by an average of 30 %. Suppliers to schools, hospitality and events took particularly hard hits. Quickly recognized as an essential sector, however, the companies have been able to continue working. Unfortunately, as many as 60 % of the companies thus noticed an increase in the number of employees staying home and 39 % felt the impact of staff shortages on production. And this drop in production is causing concern. Many food establishments are not getting their orders because there are not enough staff.

Employment agencies meanwhile, have extra work, are recruiting at the assembly line and making efforts to keep the work safe while respecting the quarantine period for the foreign temporary workers. These are uncertain times, even in the food sector.

Therefore, it is important during and after the corona crisis to engage in a flexible shell. That way, you're not stuck with a sky-high personnel cost if things go down a bit. Peaks and troughs are inextricably linked to the food sector. So the importance of a flexible shell, consisting of motivated employees, cannot be emphasized enough.
The main benefits are:

  • accommodating peak periods and sick leave
  • bringing in additional expertise
  • rapid deployment
  • flexibility in uncertain times

Link2europe offers this opportunity and finds for our clients in the food sector, the missing expertise or the necessary volume of candidates abroad. Whether production operators, technicians or warehouse personnel, our search for you abroad continues undaunted.

And once at work, the administrative and logistical framework (accommodation and mobility) of your temporary worker is something you as a company do not have to worry about. Link2Europe unburdens your company and your candidates completely.

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