Every year, Randstad assesses the quality of the employer brands of the biggest Belgian companies. The most important findings in 2018? Strong employer brands not only appeal to people more easily, they also increase the commitment of their employees. And, more than ever before, wages are the most important reason for choosing an employer.

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'Alongside wages, the location of the company is a significant reason for staying with an employer' - Jan Denys, labour market expert Randstad Group

wages, job security and working atmosphere dominate the choice of the employee

For the 18th year in a row, Randstad surveyed 11,000 students, employees and job-seekers about the appeal of the employer brands of 181 private companies with over 1,000 employees.

The most important criteria when choosing an employer this year are: wages and benefits (65%), job security (55%) and working atmosphere (54%).


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This top 3 is similar to previous years. However, the gap between the first and second most important criteria has never been so big. More than ever, people want their just rewards for working, explains Jan Denys, labour market expert and communications director for the Randstad Group.

reasons to stay

For the first time, Randstad also gauged the criteria that are considered vital by employees, if they are to stay. Jan Denys: 'The criterion wages and benefits takes first place (56%) however, we also see that the location of the company (46%) and the working atmosphere (46%) are important when deciding to stay.'

The recent labour market study from Randstad also showed that the longer someone works for a company, the more functional their relationship with that employer becomes. 'This could also be part of it. Furthermore, we only see minimal differences in the criteria considered important by employees when choosing an employee and then deciding to stay', explains Jan Denys.

most appealing sectors

Employer appeal for most sectors is falling, however, the top 3 has remained unchanged since 2017. 'People still want to work in the Pharmaceutical sector (41.2%), Media (40.4%) and Aeronautics (36.3%)', clarifies Jan Denys.

What is worth noting is the fact that the appeal of the banking and insurance sector continues to fall (28.4%). 'Despite efforts made over the past few years', adds Jan Denys. 'The sector is not even in the top 10 any more, being beaten in terms of appeal by Chemicals (31.8%) and Car production (30.5%).

Across the sectors, it is largely the same criteria which make private employers appealing.

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In 16 of the 22 sectors examined, the financial health of the employer is most important for employees. In second place, there is the opportunity to use the latest technologies at work.

government outclasses private

Each year, Randstad also examines a separate sector, alongside private companies. Over the past few years, the public sector, social profit and disruptive brands have been covered. This year, respondents provided their opinions on the employer appeal of the Belgian cities.

Jan Denys: 'With an average score of 43.7 the local authorities are even more appealing than the pharmaceutical sector (41.2%). And if we take the average of the entire private sector, the city centres score 13.5% better. It is primarily job security and the work/life balance which make local authorities appealing to respondents.'

Bigger cities are more appealing as employers than smaller ones. In the top 3 for Dutch-speaking Belgium, there is Ghent (55.4%) at number one, followed by Brussels (52.8%) and Hasselt (52.4%). In French-speaking Belgium, most respondents want to work for local authorities in Namen (56.3%), followed by Brussels (52.8%) and Aarlen (50.7%).

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Local authorities are formidable rivals to private companies', adds Jan Denys. 'Participating when it comes to the war for talent, and businesses would be advised to take this into account.

here are the 10 most appealing employers in Belgium


'tripAdvisor for companies' has little chance of success

Randstad investigated the image of companies via external panels and respondents. But this can also be done using big data from (ex) employees. StepStone recently announced that companies in Belgium would be reviewed online, just like TripAdvisor for the travel sector.


chance of manipulation

'It's not a good idea', says Jan Denys. 'Ex-employees will perhaps be quicker to respond if they want to share something negative. Current employees will put a gloss on their opinions or may be frightened to speak out. Employers could also push their staff to provide positive feedback: the system can be manipulated easily. There are also many scientific questions, e.g. how reliable is it? This could only work if it is organised by an independent initiator; a type of Mystery Shopper for company reviews.'