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5 things you need to know about Belgium’s graduate job scene

By Chloe Lane

Updated January 12, 2022 Updated January 12, 2022

Sponsored by University of Antwerp 

Known for its delicious food, diverse culture and world-renowned universities, Belgium is undoubtedly a great place to be a student.  

It’s hardly surprising then that staying in Belgium after studying is a popular option for graduates at Belgian universities. At the University of Antwerp in the last year, more than 33 percent of international business and economics students stayed on to work in Belgium after graduation. 

So, if you’re looking to stay in Belgium after graduating, you might be wondering what to expect. Read on to discover five things you should know about Belgium’s graduate job scene. 

Look for work in Belgium for up to a year after graduation 

Belgium has recently introduced a new orientation year residence permit. This means that graduates from Belgian universities can stay up to 12 months to find work or start a company after graduation.  

The orientation year residence permit is available to all non-EU international students who have graduated in a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD programme and have a valid residence permit. 

During the orientation year, graduates have unlimited access to the Belgian job market. Once you have found a job, you need to apply for a combined single permit

Careers services will prepare you for the job market 

With a year after graduation to find work in Belgium, students will need to ensure that they’re prepared to enter the graduate job market. Luckily, many universities in Belgium offer excellent careers services to put you in good stead for securing a prestigious job at an international company.  

The University of Antwerp supports students throughout their degree and beyond, offering career support and hosting regular network events and job fairs to put students in touch with employers. You can take part in a career development track to know the job market, meet seasoned professionals from different sectors and work on your soft skills and personal branding. Both during and after your studies, you have free access to the career centre, a one-stop shop platform for internships, vacancies and career-related events. 

In certain programmes, students can choose a consulting project, internship or master's thesis in collaboration with a company as part of their study programme.   

Graduates are highly sought after by employers 

Studying at a Belgian university will help you develop the professional skills and knowledge needed in the graduate job market.  

Many of the programmes at the University of Antwerp boast a high employment rate. For example, 90 percent of the university’s economic policy graduates find a job within six months of finishing their studies, with graduates working in globally recognised organisations such as the European Union, KPMG, Greenpeace and the World Bank.  

Similarly, graduates of the university’s Business EconomicsFinancial Business Engineering and Business Engineering: Management Information Systems degrees work across 49 countries, with on average more than 90 percent of graduates finding a job within six months of finishing the course.  

Belgium is a multicultural melting pot 

Belgium is widely known for being a multicultural location, with a large expat community, attracting people from all around the world to its historic cities.  

At the University of Antwerp, more than 18 percent of its 21,000 students are from outside Belgium and include more than 136 nationalities. Looking at the Belgium job market, recent figures have shown that one in 10 people working there are from overseas.   

As a graduate, this will mean that you are exposed to a diverse set of people, with differing perspectives and ways of working. You will also expand your global network and be exposed to an exciting new business culture. These are vital skills in an increasingly globalised workforce and will prepare you for an international career.  

A great place to kickstart your international career 

Belgium is a founding member of major international entities, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the European Union (EU) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Many international organisations have their headquarters in Belgium. If you’re looking to work in a global organisation, this is a great place to start your career. The capital of the Flemish region, Antwerp, was also named as one of the ten top growth cities in the world for economic potential by the Financial Times. 

Belgium has a large service sector, and many locals and expats work in banking, retail, tourism, law and media. A large portion of the available jobs are aimed at highly skilled individuals who are looking to work in the service sector, which is perfect for graduates. Plus, Belgium has among the highest salaries and minimum wages in Europe while also having a below average unemployment rate. So, what are you waiting for? 

This article was originally published in January 2022 .

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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