The number of job vacancies in the Flemish section of the North Sea Port has reached 3,000, marking a 60% increase compared to six years ago, according to a labor

market survey conducted by Voka and VeGHO (Association of Ghent Port-related Enterprises). The study further reveals that over 90% of companies in the region are struggling to fill these vacancies.

In response to the labor shortage, port authorities have begun to relax diploma requirements, with approximately 70% of companies no longer specifying qualification prerequisites. Currently, only 40% of employers inquire about Dutch language skills or relevant experience, focusing primarily on candidates' attitude during recruitment.

To meet the demand for workers, port companies are increasingly recruiting from abroad. In 2017, three-quarters of companies exclusively hired from the Flanders region, but this number has decreased to 43% in 2023. Recruitment campaigns now target areas such as Brussels (22%) and Wallonia (17%). Additionally, about 20% of companies are searching for candidates outside the European Union, while 28% aim to recruit from other EU countries, and 41% look to the Netherlands.

To streamline recruitment efforts, the North Sea Port Talent initiative was launched earlier this year. North Sea Port, VeGHO, the city of Ghent, VDAB Oost-Vlaanderen, and its Dutch counterpart UWV are collaborating to facilitate the process. Photo by Img by Calvin Teo, Wikimedia commons.