It appears that there is a big gap between the perception of Belgium and reality. When looking at the perception, expressed in the Country RepTrak Study of 2013, Belgium would only rank 13th on the global attractiveness scale. The reality, however, is much different as is shown by the IMD World Competiveness Yearbook 2013. In the IMD study, one looks at actual facts and figures (GDP per person employed). Reality shows that Belgium is ranking first place.
Strong assets of Belgium continue to be it’s central location in Europe, neutrality, cheap office rent and productive, multilingual work force. Belgium continues to be a European leader in the logistics field and has also an attractive R&D climate. Belgium offers excellent university-industry collaboration in the area of R&D, yet the study confirms that Belgium still has to work on it’s own capacity to innovate.
An area of concern is the high level of income taxes and social security in Belgium, combined with complex and often inflexible labour law rules. During the official press presentation of the BJA study at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Brussels, Mr. Hoorelbeke of Daikin Europe, indicated, however, that there are creative ways in which to combine various employment methods in order to achieve overall flexibility of the workforce and mitigate the overall labour expenditure of the company. It appears therefore that Belgium remains an attractive work location.
We thank the BJA for this interesting study, showing the many strong points of Belgium as an investment location and defeating perception.