COVID-19 Caused Loss of Over 100,000 Student Jobs in Belgium

Over 100,000 student jobs across Belgium have disappeared since the COVID-19 outbreak, the latest figures by Belgium’s National Social Security Office (ONSS) have revealed.

According to the report on the labour market situation in the second quarter of 2020, the number of student work contracts has decreased by 33 per cent compared to the same period during the previous year, Erudera College News reports.

Figures have shown that there has been a disappearance of 125,000 student jobs which have been dismissed amid the series of closures, labour force reduction or bankruptcies incited by the pandemic.

The loss of jobs is critical for student workers in the cultural, artistic or leisure sectors, with -68 per cent. The following sectors include:

  • Communications (-54 per cent)
  • The horeca sector including bars, cafés or restaurants (-48 per cent)

The administrative and the support sector, which is backed by the outsourcing companies have registered the most evident losses -56,000 jobs, with the foodservice industry sector listed the second with 41,000 jobs lost.

According to the ONSS, small student jobs have been affected the most, outlining a decrease in the number of hours worked which have plummeted by 25 per cent, whereas the sharpest decline has been marked by the horeca sector with 3.1 million hours less.

On the contrary, another impact of the pandemic is that it has encouraged a rise in demand to work in farms, increasing by 72 per cent because employers started recruiting students in order to make up for the labour shortages linked to the closure of borders triggered by COVID-19.

While the understaffing and burnout had affected the health care as well as social services’ workforce, sectors increased recruitment by 27 per cent and turned to students for support in medical and non-medical tasks.

Recruitment of volunteer students or those under internship contracts has triggered unsatisfaction among health care workers who have denounced authorities and hospitals for hiring people to do unpaid work in order to compensate for lack of qualified and available staff.

In addition to Belgium, the pandemic crisis has hit employment in most countries of the world. 

According to PEW Charitable Trusts’ analysis of data from the Department of Labor, from February to October 2020, the number of jobs in the United States decreased by 13.7 per cent, or to 340,300. These data have also shown that the local government education industry decreased to 666,200 jobs in total.

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