Employment in the circular economy

This indicator measures the evolution of employment in the circular economy in Flanders. It is therefore about the circular sectors where the activities revolve around repair work, waste, renting and leasing, maintenance of motorised vehicles, second-hand items or the renovation of buildings.

43,261 employees

  • Between 2008 and 2020, the employment rate in the circular sector grew by 16.4%. The increase in the global employment rate in Flanders was just 5.8%.
  • The sector dealing with the maintenance of motorised vehicles has the highest employment rate in the circular economy.

What do we see?

Between 2008 and 2020, employment in the circular sectors grew more (16.4%) than the global employment rate in Flanders (5.8%). In 2020, there were 43,261 employees working in the Flemish circular economy, which equates to 1.96% of the total employment in Flanders.



The largest circular sector in this respect is the maintenance of motorised vehicles (more than 17,000 employees). However, we saw the biggest increase in the employment rate in the second-hand and renting and leasing sectors. The pie chart below provides a clear overview of the number of employees for each circular sector in Flanders.



What’s the aim?

To accelerate the transition to a circular economy, the growth of the employment rate of the circular sectors needs to be higher than that of the total Flemish employment rate. This is already the case but the difference between the two figures needs to be even bigger. 

We also need to take into account the limitations of the current ways of measuring this. They are based only on the NACE codes and are not detailed enough. For example, the construction industry is not included in this at all, even though it includes circular activities (e.g. renovation).  

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator measures the evolution of employment in the circular economy in Flanders. It gives an indication of the speed at which the Flemish economy is transforming into a circular economy.

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