Salaries in Belgium are still higher than in neighbouring countries, but the greater productivity of Belgian workers sharply reduces this handicap, according to the Central Economic Council, CCE. Does a wage-earner in Belgium cost more than in France, Germany or the Netherlands? “Yes,” say employers. “No, on the contrary,” counter the unions. The debate is eternal and not even the CCE can provide a definitive response, judging from its new report on salaries.
Belgian private-sector salaries were 12.6% higher than those of its neighbours in 2017, according to the CCE report.
However, when adjusted against workers’ level of productivity, i.e. the added value they create per hour, the wage handicap shrank to 1.2%.
Finally, when the reduction in employers’ contributions along with salary subsidies such as the tax shift are considered, the pace at which Belgian salaries increase is 2.5% slower than in France, the Netherlands and Germany, the CCE notes.