Belgium and Brussels increasingly popular as a workplace for global workforce

January 22, 2017

Belgium and Brussels increasingly appeal to foreigners as working destinations compared to four years ago, according to a survey of 366,000 people in 197 countries.
When looking for a job, in Belgium or abroad, employees especially look for companies that emphasize collegial relationships and a good work-life balance, instead of a high salary for instance. These are two of the striking findings from the Decoding Global Talent 2018 study by The Boston Consultancy Group, The Network and its partner StepStone.

Increasing Popularity for Belgium and Brussels

In four years’ time, Belgium climbed from place seventeen to place fourteen. The climb of Brussels is even more significant. The Belgian capital gains eight places and is now in the top twenty of the most attractive cities to work in.

Interestingly, we have found that cities can have brands that stand apart from their country’s brand,” said Mike Booker, the Managing Director of The Network and a co-author of the report.


Dynamics That Drive the Rankings

Political and economic changes appear to have influenced respondents’ thinking about many traditional work destinations, causing some cities to increase in popularity and others to diminish. Even countries whose overall ranking didn’t change have undergone a reassessment with possible foreign workforces in certain regions.

For instance, even though the US is still the world’s most popular work destination overall, it is now less attractive—amid the volatility of its national politics—to people in Mexico and to those in a dozen other countries where it was previously the number-one choice. Notably the UK and Switzerland have themselves become more cautious about immigration causing them to be less attractive. For example, Germany, with its relative openness, is cast in a more favorable light and is boosted over its European rivals in the rankings.

The falloff in outbound mobility is particularly evident in some emerging economies. For instance, only 33 per cent of Chinese are now willing to leave their home country for work. That represents a dramatic decline from 2014, when Chinese mobility was 61 per cent, within a few percentage points of the world average. Chinese workers are now near the very bottom for mobility among the 197 countries surveyed.


Deciding to pursue work in a new country is very personal, said Mike Booker.


Wake up call for companies: financial compensation less important than work-life balance

The study also highlights another reality for Belgian companies: the focus that workers globally put on good relationships with colleagues and superiors and on issues surrounding work-life balance.

“The increasing emphasis on work-life balance and a good relationship with colleagues, requires companies to make changes if they want to attract the types of talent they will need in the future,” said Rik Hulser, Managing Director of StepStone BE. “At StepStone we have noticed this growing need, which is why we gradually enhanced our platform for employers to showcase their employer brand. This way we are convinced that talent is able to find their dream workplace.”

For specific inquiries, please contact:
Killian Cramers or Christelle Habimana +32 2 895 29 27 or +32 2 209 98 65 or