Belgians willing to work longer for more flexibility

14th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 November 2005, BRUSSELS — Belgian employees or company executives are increasingly looking for more flexible workplace conditions, a survey has revealed.

14 November 2005

BRUSSELS — Belgian employees or company executives are increasingly looking for more flexible workplace conditions, a survey has revealed.

In exchange, Belgians are prepared to work a longer week or stay in the workforce until an older age if they can work with greater flexibility to meet personal needs, news agency Belga reported.

The findings were based on a survey jobs agency Monsterboard held in June and August this year. Some 12,000 people in 15 nations were surveyed. In Belgium, 992 respondents took part.

The Belgian respondents were not representative of the entire population because employees and executives were over-represented in the research.

"But the survey is still useful. It shows that trends such as autonomous and nomadic work are catching on in the search for a [better] combination of work and private life," VUB professor Jacques Vilrokx, who analysed the study, said.

"I expect that this group of respondents will fulfill a pioneering role for the rest of the population."

The Manpower survey indicated 68 percent of respondents are prepared to keep working to an older age on the condition they can work more flexibly. Belgians are among the top three in Europe in this respect.

In terms of working longer each week in exchange for greater flexibility, 54 percent of Belgian respondents were in favour of this scenario.

Questions about working from home and preparedness to move abroad for work also sparked positive responses. In both cases, Belgians topped other Europeans with 54 and 45 percent respectively answering in the affirmative.

"It is especially about working more flexibly, adjusted to personal wishes. In reality, it is however, primarily the employer who decides," ULB professor François Pichault said.

He has also identified another trend: the demand for greater certainty and stability towards an employer. This is due to rising unemployment and delocalisation.

However, Belgian workers remain optimistic, with just 27 percent frightened of losing their job in the next 12 months. Belgians are the most optimistic of the nations surveyed.

Also, just 12 percent of Belgians fear that their job will be delocalised to another country, placing them under the European average.

Professor Vilrokx explained that many jobs don't come into consideration to be shifted abroad. And for the jobs that are, those workers are not frightened of moving to another country.

"If you asked the same question to a low-educated labourer, the result would probably be different," he said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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