Our latest EFA Expert to speak to Radio X this week was Dirk Buyens from our hosts Vlerick Business School. Dirk will be presenting a session on career planning for expats and emphasising the importance of maintaining and developing your network.
EFA takes place at Vlerick business school this Saturday from 10:30 until 16:30 it’s a 1 day free event where you can get useful information on all things finance whether that’s pensions, inheritance investment or tax. There’s also a session on how to further your career! So Dirk, what will you be talking about during your session at Expat Financial Affairs?
I will be talking about career management for sure but largely on the self-management side of careers. I realise that many of the people coming will be expats; people living abroad, not living in their home country and I’ll be talking a little bit about the dynamics of a career. That’s what I’ll be talking about.
What’s the careers market like in Brussels? Is it quite buoyant and mobile?
I think you have to distinguish between the internal and external job market. What I mean by the internal job market is that within a company, you might see people moving and you see a lot of opportunities within an organisation; unless of course you’re talking about companies that are being restructured or need to squeeze on their numbers, in which case it is a bit different.
Next to that, we have the external market, where we see that since the 2008 crisis that there is a tendency towards not moving so early as people want to stay on the safe side. That is the difference on the labour market, especially when you’re talking about the higher profile organisations.
And does the same go for expats? Are there any difficulties that are maybe unique for expats?
Being an expat living in Brussels means you get to know more people on the one hand, yet depending on where you’re next move may be, it might be difficult to get into the right network. What I will talk about will be the career triangle or self-management triangle. It’s about what can I do, what are my strengths? What do I want to do, what are my values? But the third thing is what is my network, what sort of network do I have? Making people realise that if you want to go somewhere, you need to develop your network in that direction. It could be for some people in Brussels, national/international depending where you want to go. For others, they may want to go somewhere else and work out a network in that place which could be more complex. Because what you quite often see is that expats aren’t so strong on maintaining and developing their network in their home country, simply because they just aren’t there.
The idea of Vlerick is that all of our post graduate degrees including all our Masters and MBA degrees are all in English, most of what we organise in Brussels is also done in English but of course you also have to serve your local community and we do that on our campuses in Leuven and Ghent. Most of the programmes we have, and this also true for the shorter programmes, we have programmes like people-manager and our masterclasses, these are all organised in English.
If you would like to receive personalised expert advice on a variety of areas relevant to your big life decisions as an expat in Belgium, please visit our Expat Financial Affairs website and register to join us on the 3rd of October at Vlerick Business School, Brussels. Sign up now, and we will keep you updated on the event programme as it gets published and help you prepare for your visit in the best way possible.