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Belgian “bottleneck” industry returns to EURES for engineers

When Skyline Communications had difficulty recruiting software and telecoms engineers, it did what many companies in Belgium have been doing and turned to EURES for help in seeking out the best qualified candidates at jobs fairs in Europe. Outcome in 2012: 79 engineers recruited in Portugal by Belgian employers.
Skyline Communications, which provides network management solutions for the telecom, satellite and broadcast industry, travelled to its first jobs fair with EURES in May 2012. They ended up hiring five engineers at the event in Lisbon, Portugal, and returned last April to recruit more.
“Working with EURES has turned out really well for us,” says Skyline’s finance and operations director Frederik Vandenberghe. “We’ve been back to Portugal this year and selected eight people and they are currently going through the recruitment process.”
But Skyline is just one of many companies in Belgium who are constantly looking abroad for staff. Engineering has become a “bottleneck” profession in the country, with shortages of candidates with such qualifications being a constant issue.
“EURES Belgium receives a few thousand vacancies for engineers every year,” claims EURES Adviser Charlotte Hoste, who is based in Belgium’s Flanders region. “Before 2012, many companies had not heard of EURES, but since media attention last year we are contacted daily by employers looking for help.”
EURES set up a mailing list for employers seeking information about upcoming jobs fairs, and, to date, more than 200 have signed up. Figures for last year show EURES helped companies in Belgium recruit 38 engineers at the jobs fair in Lisbon, and 41 at two other events in Portugal.
“Where once Belgium was not promoted abroad as a jobseekers’ destination, EURES has worked to transform its reputation,” says Charlotte. “We emphasise its central location from where employees can return to their native place more easily than other countries.”
Furthermore, in the Flanders region, the authorities provide a helpdesk where newcomers can sign up to Dutch lessons, and gain assistance with finding schools and housing. “The aim is that most employees will stay long-term,” Charlotte adds.
Meanwhile, the recruitment process for Skyline continues, and jobseekers are likely to see the company at an engineers’ jobs fair somewhere soon.
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