The gap between the highest and lowest salaries has continued to increase in Belgium and is now at its highest level since 2012, according to a study by the Acerta human resources company, released on Friday. The wage gap had increased very moderately from year to year since 2012, but widened considerably between 2016 and 2017, due largely to the end of the wage freeze and the race for higher wages.
Acerta calculated the wage gap for the past six years based on data on all workers of the more than 40,000 private sector employers linked to it. The study, which did not include temporary, seasonal, or casual workers, showed that the gap had gradually widened, reaching 2.81 in 2017.
In concrete terms, this means that, if one examined 100 workers, the 10 most highly paid ones earned 2.81 times more than the 10 least paid ones.
This gap had been 2.71 in 2015 and 2.72 in 2016.
The increase is attributable largely to the race for higher wages and to economic attractiveness, which benefits workers with skills that are in high demand. These workers can use their skills to bargain for higher salaries, whether in the same enterprise or elsewhere. As a result, their employers are sometimes prepared to pay them higher.
Higher bonuses and promotions also contribute to the wage gap, since it’s mainly employees with the highest salaries who obtain such benefits.