The trend of ‘Quiet Quitting’ tops the strategic priorities for HR in Belgium in 2024

Talent shortages keep Belgian hiring intentions high for Q1 2024
12 December 2023
Alexandra Lammens new Financial Director at ManpowerGroup BeLux
11 January 2024

HR plays a crucial role in strengthening workplace engagement and providing meaning in a rapidly transforming work environment.


According to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup(1)Belgian employers face numerous challenges in their human resources management in 2024.

 “Our survey highlights the strategic role that HR will need to play in 2024 as companies embark on this new year in a context of uncertainty and under obligation to continue transforming in many areas,explains Sébastien Delfosse, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup BeLux. “Today, more than ever, the human element must be at the heart of companies’ approach. Workers and candidates are seeking meaning and a new relationship with work. Employers who can meet these expectations will not only attract and retain talent, but also improve performance.”

 Here are their five strategic priorities in order:

  1. The international trend of ‘Quiet Quitting’ or ‘silent resignation’ is coming to the fore and concerns 67% of companies, ranking as the top priority for Belgian employers. ‘Quiet Quitting’ involves workers deciding to reduce their engagement at work, and even performing the bare minimum instead of formally resigning or seeking new employment. This behavior may affect employees of all ages experiencing a lack of motivation, near burnout, wanting to preserve their mental health, or seeking a work-life balance that aligns with their expectations. In response, employers will need to implement comprehensive actions to give meaning to work and enhance employee engagement.


  1. According to the latest figures from ManpowerGroup, 74% of Belgian employers are grappling with talent shortages, with one in four facing significant recruitment challenges. It’s not surprising to see that the recruitment of qualified personnel is the second priority, with a score of 63%. Not only that, the job vacancy rate – the number of vacant jobs compared to the total number of jobs in the company – continues to increase each quarter, approaching 5% in Belgium (4.72% in the third quarter 2023 or 198,724 jobs according to StatBel(2).


  1. Employee well-being takes third place and is taken into account by 62% of respondents. Since COVID, companies are still seeking a new balance in a hybrid work organization where relationships have become more complex. In this new environment, workplace well-being and physical and mental health have become a real priority, whether in terms of disease prevention and absenteeism, or the improvement of working conditions and overall quality of life.


  1. Initiatives concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion come in fourth place for 59% of employers, demonstrating the growing importance of this aspect with the need for more workplaces offering equal opportunities for all individuals.


  1. Today, and even more so tomorrow, companies must demonstrate their commitment to the environment in order to attract and retain talent, particularly Gen Z. It is not surprising that 58% of employers have included the theme of ecological transition among their priorities for 2024, placing it in fifth position.


Other items on the HR agenda for 2024 include the contingent workforce optimization  (57%), the retention or rehiring of older workers (57%), talent retention (56%), the threat of recession (56%), in-office work policies (52%), ‘The Great Resignation’ (53%), the transition to AI/technology (52%), and forced layoffs due to difficult economic circumstances (50%).

(1) The ‘ManpowerGroup Workforce Trends Survey’ was conducted during the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS) Barometer for the first quarter of 2024 in October 2023, with a representative sample of 40,000 public and private employers (including 525 in Belgium) in 41 countries and territories.

(2) Statbel: Job vacancy rate, 3rd quarter 2023