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Brussels is far from ready to pick up the baton after London's exit

With Brexit coming on 29 March 2019, it appears working in London will become harder for Europeans. It is not yet entirely clear how the British will leave the EU and what exactly the consequences of this will be for the international labour market. Negotiations on this topic are still ongoing. Is Brussels ready to become the new international capital of Europe?

If Brussels truly wants to be attractive to international talent like London is, it still has quite some ground to gain. London is currently the most attractive city for international talent, while Brussels is ranked in 18th place. Brussels is popular mainly among international talent that wants to make more money. Those with higher educations also choose this city relatively more often. About 53% of those who would like to work in Brussels have a higher education, compared to the European average of 39%. The city is especially popular with Spaniards, Greeks and the Dutch. Within Belgium, Brussels faces competition from the cities Ghent and Antwerp.

Pension is important

In total, there are about 1.6 million Europeans who would like to work in Brussels. 44% of them are aged between 35 and 49, a big difference compared to London, which is attractive to a younger demographic as well. Apart from that, it is remarkable that approximately 66% are male and most of them have senior positions. Because the age of this group is rather high, the pension is an important employment condition. In addition, flexible working hours are also advantageous for this group.

Why Brussels?

European talent mainly choose Brussels in order to make more than in their own country. Wages in Brussels are higher than in other parts of Belgium, approximately 17% above the national average. This is caused by the presence of large international organisations, for instance. “Brussels is the number one city for every European who wants to make a difference in Europe and the world. Brussels is popular mostly because of the presence of government and worldwide organisations, such as the European Union, the UN, NATO, OECD and IMF,” says founder Geert-Jan Waasdorp. Apart from that, career opportunities are important for the group that would like to work in Brussels as well. Soon, when all British EU civil servants will have left Brussels, the EU will need additional talent. Brussels will then have to offer more than just higher average wages in the eyes of the European candidates.

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