The monthly salaries of many people in essential professions are far below the Belgian average, according to data by Belgian statistical office Statbel.
Many of these professions, such as healthcare workers but also shop staff and cleaners, often earn significantly less than the average monthly wage in the private sector in Belgium.
For the figures, Statbel focused on essential professions with employees who could not work from home during the lockdown, and were often in close contact with customers and patients. The wages of these people were compared to the average gross monthly salary of a full-time employee in the private sector in 2018, which was €3,627.
The first essential sector is health care. According to Statbel, specific highly qualified positions such as doctor, dentist or pharmacist are clearly better paid than the average. For example, doctors earn an average of €7,091 gross per month, making them one of the best-paid jobs in the country.
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Less qualified health care personnel, however, receive a much lower salary. For care workers, for example, that is an average of €2,549 per month, "or an amount that is almost 30% below the salary of the average Belgian," Statbel stated.
Shops also remained open during the lockdown, but the shop staff are among the least paid professions in Belgium. They earn an average of €2,500 gross per month.
In the logistics sector, which includes bus and lorry drivers, warehouse staff and parcel deliverers, most employees earn less than €3,000.
With average wages between €2.300 and €2.600 gross, waste collectors and cleaning staff are both also far below the national average.
The worst paid profession in Belgium, based on the figures for 2018, is that of carer in children's daycares and crèches, with an average of €2,317 gross per month.
The Brussels Times