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How do our employees experience the VUB? To find out how to improve our identity as an employer, we launched a survey in April 2018.  We are talking the talk, but are we walking the walk? What do VUB employees value? What are we doing well? What could be improved? Consequently, what can we do about our external identity to attract candidates with the same drive and open-mindedness as our current staff? These potential candidates should share our values too. Are you curious to see what your VUB colleagues think?


These are the most important findings from the survey:

What could the VUB do to optimise its role in society? This can be answered by looking at how our 3494 employees realise our vision every day.  The way you and your colleagues experience working for the VUB is an important gauge for us to adjust the organisation and work towards our mission. Therefore, we launched a large-scale survey in April 2018 amongst all VUB employees to find out why you chose us as your employer.


In total, 1 241 colleagues completed the online survey, covering a broad range of age, gender, seniority and job functions. This serves as a solid foundation for the future. The most important insights we gleaned from the survey are described below.

What are we doing well?

A solid 7.2 out of 10 – that is the average score you gave us. In order to put this score in perspective, we analysed in-depth 4375 unique (and anonymous) comments from VUB employees.


“Our relatively high sentiment score is especially due to the freedom employees experience at the VUB,” according to the Rector, Caroline Pauwels.


“Working for the VUB means self-enrichment and personal development. The results show that our university is known for its open-mindedness and flexibility, offering a great many learning opportunities amongst colleagues. Additionally, our values and norms have a broad support base.”


Furthermore, a sense of community is very high amongst colleagues, but also between employees and the VUB as an organisation.

What can be improved?


Of course, it is not always a bed of roses. “The survey showed the need for various improvements,” said Raf Devos, Director People & Organisation. “Our employees are deeply engaged, spending significant amounts of time and energy at work. No shortage of motivation. The flipside is that administrative red tape is restrictive and many VUB processes are not transparent. Work pressure and a lack of clarity regarding personal development opportunities are the most important points for improvement. How can we improve our organisation to support our much-valued freedom? This is a question for the administration. A passion for science drives our professors. So, we have to minimise the passion killers: silly rules, useless documents, endless approval streams…”

Improvements in progress

“Many employees pointed out that our internal communication could be better. We have taken note of this sentiment. MarCom will most certainly prioritise this in the next academic year,” said Ann van Driessche, Director Marketing, Communication and Events.


“It is not a coincidence that open-mindedness and critical thinking are important pillars of the VUBThe sum of all VUB employees forms the collective soul of the VUB brand. We should celebrate and promote the uniqueness of the VUB.”


In short, the VUB is a much-appreciated employer, but there is room for improvement on the work floor. “To effectively do just that, Elke Van Hoof  will conduct an in-depth survey on well-being shortly”, according to Caroline Pauwels. “The results will serve as the basis for a global well-being plan and a specific year plan.”  To be continued.


Elke Van Hoof will conduct an in-depth survey on welfare shortly. The results will serve as the basis for a global welfare plan and a specific year plan.
Caroline Pauwels, rector VUB

New job site

In the meantime, we are busy establishing our identity and brand externally on the job market.  “Recently, we have started advertising job vacancies worldwide and we are finalising our new job site,” according to Yasmine Van Mullem, recruitment marketer at People & Organisation.


“Various colleagues are also promoting the VUB as an employer. They have shared their experiences on our website, so that potential candidates can form a realistic idea of working for the VUB.”


Would you like to see the survey results in detail? Go to the conclusion of the survey presentation or download the infographic.