Belgium in Brief: Where are Europe's highest earners?

Belgium in Brief: Where are Europe's highest earners?

If you've got an eye for data you might have clocked Eurostat's latest statistics for GDP per capita released yesterday – essentially an analysis of how rich EU citizens are in each Member State. And if figures are your thing, there's a fair chance that you are already aware of the respectable remuneration the average Belgian might enjoy.

In fact, 2022 saw Belgium rank sixth in this EU wealth league – with 21% more disposable income than the EU average per citizen. It's important to note that last year was exceptional, with Europe hoping to fire up economies after the Covid-19 lull and instead being hit with rampant inflation following the conflict-driven energy crisis.

Despite the hardships, many Belgians have benefitted from the country's system of automatic wage indexations, which aims to protect salaries from the bite of inflation. The measure has been widely criticised, with those in favour of scrapping it saying it makes Belgium unattractive for businesses, who will go elsewhere in search of lower employment costs. The only other EU nation with the same system is Luxembourg, which topped the table thanks to the far superior salaries its citizens earn.

As ever when it comes to macro-statistics, we should sprinkle a soupçon of sodium chloride to results that gloss over specificities. The figures here are averages and are greatly swayed by the less representative extremes of the wage spectrum. For example, Brussels as an individual region is one of the wealthiest areas in the entire EU, with the average employed person making €123,400 each year (2019 figures). Areas outside the capital have average wages more comparable with eastern European states...

Analyses such as the Eurostat one above hide the disparities that make for rather less optimistic reading. To see where you might sit on the Belgian scale of salaries, see here.

Feeling hard done by? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

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