Belgian wages remain unchanged due to pandemic

Belgian wages remain unchanged due to pandemic
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The effects of the pandemic have kept gross salaries in Belgium on a similar level to last year, however, there is a noticeable increase in the number of work perks and benefits, according to recruitment platform Jobat.

In its Annual Salary Compass, a survey completed by a record number of 114,000 workers, Jobat compares gross salaries on an annual basis. With an average gross monthly salary of €3,748 workers in Belgium are earning about the same this year in comparison to a year earlier. The average starting salary is €2,657 gross per month.

The average age of the respondents was 38.6 years, while 30% have no higher education, 36% have a bachelor's degree (academic or professional) and 34% have a master's degree. The respondents are predominantly white-collar workers, followed by blue-collar workers and civil servants.

The average gross salary differs per statute. For white-collar workers, it amounts to €3,815, for blue-collar workers €2,961, while public servants (both contractual and statutory civil servants) earn an average of €4,199.

The average is traditionally increased as a result of big earners. To take this into account, the Salary Compass also mentions the median, which is currently €3,302.

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Sectors that pay the best this year are once again chemistry and pharmaceutical companies, energy and environment and banking and insurance. People working in the hospitality and tourism, sports and recreation sectors earn the least.

Meanwhile, people who work in Brussels on average earn over a fifth more than in Flanders.

Increase in wages

Gross salaries in the country more or less stagnated in 2021, however, at the beginning of 2022, they did increase by an average of 3 to 6% as a result of the automatic wage indexation, which triggers an automatic rise in wages intended to keep pace with the sharp rise in inflation.

Meanwhile, a significant increase in the number of fringe benefits was recorded, largely driven by the Covid-19 crisis and teleworking measures. A quarter more employees receive a laptop than five years ago, while, in the same period, working from home increased by 77%. Moreover, at the end of last year, many workers living in Belgium received a Covid-related bonus of up to €500.

The number of employees who could count on an expense allowance and/or an internet subscription increased by 15 to 20% over the past four years, while since 2016, the number of employees with a company car increased by 10%.

Both these factors actually led to a wage increase in the country, Jobat concluded.

In the most recent survey, 33% of respondents indicated that they are very satisfied with their salary package, down from 36% last time. This decrease in satisfaction was also driven by the pandemic and the way employers handled it.

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