While hiring in the Belgian job market remains cautious, there is a significant shortage in high-tech, highly skilled occupational areas such as IT specialists and engineers.

Despite an ongoing economical confidence crisis in the Eurozone, the hiring outlook has improved during the last three months in most large economies such as the USA, Brazil and China. However, according to a survey by employment services company ManpowerGroup, European job prospects have worsened in Italy, Spain and particularly in Greece.

By contrast, Belgian neighbour Germany enjoys a steady hiring outlook for the next quarter as German manufacturing is buoyed by increased demand from Asian markets and the US. Overall hiring prospects in Belgium may remain muted while the Greece credit crisis remains unresolved, but the demand for skilled workers to fill IT jobs continues to buck the overly cautious hiring trend.

The UK official graduate careers website advised that IT specialists looking for jobs in Belgium can improve their chances by demonstrating that they have experience in fields which are particularly sought after and are willing to be mobile. Linguistic ability is also a huge benefit for prospective jobseekers wanting to work in Belgium, as the country has no less than three official languages: Flemish (Spoken by approx 60% of the population), French (39%) and German (1%).

Candidates should find out the official language of the area and organisation where they are hoping to find employment. While a high level of competency with the appropriate language is often enough, jobseekers should be aware that some positions require fluency in at least one official Belgian language (in conjunction with English).

The demand for more highly skilled technicians to enter the Belgium IT jobs market comes in conjunction with the European Parliament calls for quotas to be put in place to see more women taking positions of prominence in big companies. Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy are just some of the European countries that have already introduced company gender quotas.

Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in 't Veld said that more needed to be done in conjunction with gender quotas to encourage prominent companies to hire more women: After decades of stagnation, it is high time to act, I don't think there is anyone who is really in favour of quotas. It is a necessary evil, because voluntary measures have got us nowhere.

Quotas are a very blunt instrument, and they can only have an impact in combination with other measures to facilitate and support more women in senior positions.

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