The importance of US companies in Belgium (AmCham)
29 April 2014
- Out of all workers employed by the top 50 US companies active in Belgium, nearly 15% have a permanent or temporary job with ManpowerGroup. That‘s what is shown by the recent figures published by Amcham Belgium.
- The report, entitled The importance of US companies in Belgium’ shows that the top 50 US companies represent 3.5% of total private sector employment in the country. They also make a substantial contribution to public finances, with over €1.5 billion in taxes and social security.
- In 2012, the 900 US groups active in Belgium employed more than 140,000 people. Between them, 13,449 people worked via ManpowerGroup, which means we are the largest American employer in the country. And we are proud of it! Caterpillar stands in second place (5.529 workers); followed by Johnson & Johnson (4,997), Ford (4,801) and Pfizer (2,935).
- According to AmCham, employment among the US Top 50 has declined by 2.6% since we released our first ranking in 2012. While mass layoffs have grabbed the headlines in recent years, we are also witnessing the gradual erosion of employment in Belgium – small-scale job losses that don’t make the news. US companies have been in Belgium a long time and do not reach the decision to relocate, or even restructure, easily. What then is driving this trend?
- The answer is clear: the high cost of labor is the single greatest threat to Belgium’s prosperity. AmCham Belgium’s 2014 Business Barometer revealed that 78.1% of our members believe the investment climate in Belgium is deteriorating. The number one reason they point to is labor costs. Nevertheless, Belgium still attracts US companies: more than 25% of foreign investment came from the US in 2012, but the situation is becoming untenable.
- The federal and regional elections on May 25, 2014 present a window of opportunity. It is urgent to find immediate solutions to bring down labor costs and support employment in Belgium.