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The 2010 social balance sheet


  • P. Heuse

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • H. Zimmer

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)


The economic recovery which followed the Great Recession of 2008 was reflected in a 0.5 % average increase in the workforce according to the social balance sheets used for the analysis of the year 2010. That expansion gathered pace during the year to 1 %, pointing to the usual time lag between the revival of activity and the actual recruitment of new staff. The growth in the number of temporary workers was particularly strong, as was the rise in the number of agency staff. SMEs proved considerably more dynamic than large firms in terms of job creation. At regional level, the expansion of employment was stronger in Wallonia than in Brussels and Flanders. In Wallonia, almost all branches of activity contributed to the job creation, but the health and social work branch accounted for the largest share. In Brussels, it was mainly the information and communication branch and the health sector that supported the employment growth. In Flanders, the contraction of employment in trade and transport, information and communication, and especially industry was counterbalanced by the expansion in the health sector. In 2010, firms invested more in formal and informal training for their workers, who also participated in such training in greater numbers. Conversely, both the amount spent and the number of participants were in decline in the case of initial training (alternating study and work experience) – which remains marginal. Firms operating in more than one Region are considerably larger than the average and proportionately more numerous to report training activities in their social balance sheet. Moreover, there are evident differences in training policy between firms located exclusively in Brussels, Flanders or Wallonia. The health and social work branch, which has been growing steadily for a number of years, was analysed separately. Over half of the workers in this sector, of whom 80 % are female, work part-time. The percentage of temporary contracts is above the average, and substitution contracts account for a third of them. Conversely, agency work is less common. The level of staff costs varies considerably within this branch, while remaining below the average. Finally, workers in the health and social work branch have broad access to training, but the training provided is less expensive and of shorter duration than in other branches of activity.

Suggested Citation

  • P. Heuse & H. Zimmer, 2011. "The 2010 social balance sheet," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 105-139, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2011:m:december:i:iii:p:105-139

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph Francois & Bernard Hoekman, 2010. "Services Trade and Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 642-692, September.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-1997, December.
    3. Bala Ramasamy & Matthew Yeung, 2010. "The Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Services," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 573-596, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claude Mathys, 2012. "Economic importance of the Belgian ports: Flemish maritime ports, Liège port complex and the port of Brussels – Report 2010," Working Paper Document 225, National Bank of Belgium.
    2. repec:nbb:docwpp:201207-17 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    employment; health and social work; social balance sheet; staff costs; training; employment contract; full-time; part-time; temporary worker;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices


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