Why there is a need for automatic matching

In the 4th quarter of 2020, Belgium saw 115,553 job openings at Belgian companies1. This is not exceptional, as Belgium has over 1 million active companies2. The number of vacancies has been on the rise for years. In 2015, we saw 68,830 vacant positions in the 4th quarter3, about half of what we see in the labor market today. Finding the right employees takes a long time and costs a company a lot of money. The total recruitment cost of a regular employee can be between €4,000 and €6,000. For more complicated profiles, this figure can quickly reach €15,0004. These costs include the fees for posting the vacancies on job boards, the salaries of the HR department in a company, etc.. The high costs are due to the fact that human resources departments suffer from a lack of information or experience when searching for the right applicants. As a result, internal costs increase significantly.

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In addition to the vacancies themselves, there is a figure that we should also keep an eye on, namely the vacancy rate. From that figure we can see how many vacancies remain unfilled in Belgium. With our 2.91%, we are one of the highest countries in the European Union5. In practice, this translates into about 3 vacancies out of 100 that remain unfilled. The website of the Belgian statistics office allows us to look at this figure again by sector. From these data we can clearly see that the information and communication sector (ICT) has the highest vacancy rate, namely 6.4%6. This means that for every 100 ICT vacancies there are 6 vacancies that remain unfilled.

Also, mismatches are becoming greater than ever before; an increasingly complex society makes it harder to find someone with the right skills.

The high vacancy rate is due to the fact that employers are having increasing difficulty finding employees with the right profile. Over 35% of Belgian employers admit that7. It is also striking that this problem is greatest among large companies. Companies with more than 250 employees find it twice as difficult to fill vacancies because they often have strict requirements. If an applicant does not meet these requirements, they are more likely to be turned away. With SMEs this is much more flexible; there they look more at the person and their potential in general. Also, mismatches are becoming bigger than ever before. Because of the increasingly complex society, it is harder to find someone with the right skills. If someone is hired who does not have the right skills after all, the company has to look for someone else again, which only increases costs.

Given the increasingly complex needs of society, we can conclude that the Belgian labor market needs to start focusing more on the targeted search for the right skills of people. Agoria's “Be The Change“ study8 came out in 2019 showing that over 500,000 vacancies will go unfilled in 2030 if we do not change the current situation. We see that the supply of jobs will continue to grow at 0.9% per year, but the labor supply is lagging behind at only 0.3% per year. The most vulnerable sector will be IT, as they already suffer from a very high vacancy rate.

Written by Gjyrkan Ganashi.