The correspondence between education levels and quality of the professions of the national and foreign labour force in Belgium

Serge Feld, Université de Liège
Madeleinne Nantcho

Based on the processing and analysis of unpublished data from the last General census of Population in Belgium, the characteristics of the national and foreign labour force in the different regions of the country are presented, with special reference to education levels, unemployment, employment rates, sectors of activity and occupations .The study deals with the problem of optimal use of the skills of Belgian and more particularly foreign labour. The main results show that non-European labour is less highly-skilled than is the case for Belgian or European nationals. This becomes apparent in unemployment and employment rates. Analysis focuses mainly on education levels and a qualitative assessment of the occupations found within a dozen nationalities according to residence and gender. The disparity between education level and occupation or profession suggests a waste of resources insofar as certain groups of foreigners, especially non-Europeans and those from Southern Europe(to a lower extent) are over-qualified for the jobs they do.

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Presented in Session 40: Educational Background and Economic Mobility of Migrants