Why working in Belgium makes you happy

Strategy & Innovation


In today’s world, happiness at work is an important item on the agenda of many companies. It turns out Belgium passed the test with flying colors. According to the British Global Workforce Happiness Index 2016, which is the result of a recent survey at Universum, Belgium has the highest number of happy employees, closely followed by Norway and Costa Rica. What exactly do Belgian companies do to be so attractive to employees and – even more remarkable – to make staying so worthwhile?

Belgian companies cater to different needs

The survey calculated the employees’ happiness based on their job satisfaction, the likelihood of employees recommending their current employer and their loyalty (willingness to stay). A happy employee is defined as someone with a positive view on the company as a place to work, and no interest in changing jobs. The biggest argument for high-scoring markets turned out to be the positive treatment of top talent. Belgian companies take into account the needs of their different groups of employees (based on region, function, gender or other parameters) and cater to their needs, knowing that one generic solution to keep all your employees happy does not exist.

Talent management for expats

Belgian businesses are very much aware of their competitors and talent. They consider talent management to be a strategic asset. Belgium is a trendsetter for industry standards on extralegal benefits, compensation, a balanced work/personal life. It is attractive to top talent and expats as well as regular employees. The focus is not only on the happiness of employees in a particular company; comparisons with other companies are also made to ensure employees will want to stay, which in turn is important for the company. The goal is always to ensure that employees feel equal to colleagues in other organizations.

Senior employees are treated well

The factors attracting you to a new job are not the same as the ones that become important after you’ve been hired. Research by Towers Watson indicates we are inclined to be attracted to jobs because of their compensation and job security, but once we’re hired, our focus shifts to career development and senior leadership. Belgian companies meet the needs of their senior employees, which generates loyalty and trust. The reality offered by working for a Belgian company is in line with the expectations of the interviewees.

Attention for career development

A significant reason for this loyalty is the attention for career development. Many of the employees participating in the survey were not unhappy in their job, but they did not feel content either; they are restless. Restless employees are only moderately happy in their job; they might consider recommending the company, but they are still open to a change of jobs should a better opportunity arise. Employing high-performing talent is important for Belgian employers, who show an active interest in their most valuable employees. By paying attention to the growth of their talent they secure the growth of their organization, which creates a mutual interest for both the company and the loyal employee.

High-level education

Research has indicated that the right education goes a long way in terms of job opportunity. Putting a management layer on top of your education is a smart way to generate a highly attractive profile for the labor market. Antwerp Management School is an international business school at the heart of Belgian business life. Their large variety of advanced and executive programs offers enormous advantages for students’ careers.

We are particularly proud of our executive MBA-program and our Master in Global Management. Both have been doing well in international rankings for years. Apart from high-level knowledge, the program also focuses on the individual’s personal development. We want all our alumni to bring an added value to their career, for themselves as well as for others.  This is how we contribute to employees working to their full potential while being happy in their job.

Discover your ticket to the Belgian labor market!