The demand for business support employees is sky-high now. Month after month, we see the number of vacancies in administration, customer service, HR, marketing & communication, logistics & supply chain, and sales increase. And yet many vacancies are hard to fill. Why is that?
Asia Skifati, senior manager at staffing specialist Walters People, explains what the Belgian job market has been like for business support professionals in the past 6 months.
Administration & customer service
The demand for administrative staff and customer service professionals continues to increase. In the first half of this year, the number of advertised vacancies was no less than 61% higher than in the same period last year. In May, we noticed an enormous peak in the number of jobs. These are mainly administrative employees, receptionists, executive assistants, customer service agents and HR & payroll professionals. Especially the latter remain in high demand on the labor market. In the past six months we have seen no less than a 62% increase in the number of vacancies published compared to the first and second quarters of last year. Asia: "The numbers speak for themselves: organizations are doing well, and there have been a lot of mergers and acquisitions in recent months. We also see increasingly international organizations opening an entity in Belgium. To provide the necessary support, there is a greater need for these professionals, hence the sharp increase."
Marketing & communications
The number of published vacancies within marketing and communication has also been on the rise since the end of last year. Looking at the past two years, May 2022 was even a record month. The most sought-after positions are marketing assistants, digital marketers, online marketing managers and product managers. The 49% increase in the number of vacancies can be seen in permanent vacancies (65% more than in 2021), temporary vacancies (38% more than in 2021) and temp-to-perm contracts (25% more than in 2021). "Organizations recognize that, especially in tough times, it is important to distinguish themselves from competitors, and are increasingly focusing on employer branding and informing their customers correctly. This explains the sharp increase in recent months, and we expect this trend to continue for the rest of the year", Asia explains.
Last year in Flanders no less than 295 new investment projects were launched by international companies. A large part of these investments was aimed at sales and marketing activities, which also explains the increase in the number of sales vacancies. Even though most sales vacancies are permanent, a lot of them remain unfilled. "Fortunately, organizations are getting more creative with this," says Asia. "For most organizations, it is no longer a must for a potential employee to have several years of experience, which significantly increases the pool of talent. And that creates great opportunities for recent graduates who aim for a commercial career."
Logistics & supply chain
Within logistics and supply chain we also see an upward trend in the number of vacancies published. If we compare the first half of this year with the same period last year, we see an increase of no less than 49%. This increase is particularly noticeable in the number of permanent recruits (79% increase), but the trend is also visible in temp-to-perm vacancies (19%) and temporary jobs (9%).
Looking at the type of positions, we see that the demand is concentrated around logistics employees, purchasers, planners, and buyers. "The corona period provided a real boost to the logistics sector, and organizations were forced to implement a number of developments. However, attracting new employees was not easy, and today we still see that a considerable proportion of vacancies are difficult to fill. Here as well, it is essential for employers to be creative. This can be done by opening themselves up to recent graduates, but also to talent from other sectors who do have the necessary skills, for example, or by offering the necessary internal training courses," Asia concludes.
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