Consultants Hudson quizzed 713 Belgian businesses employing over 160,000 people to gain insight into the wage picture. Only 11% of businesses said that they had not awarded any pay increase whatsoever. In the same period bonuses even rose 1.6%. The figures are striking given the index freeze and the 0.8% wage restraint norm this year.
Hudson's Wouter Beuckels insisted that Belgian businesses are not really focused on the wage norm. He pointed to numerous loopholes and the failure to check that the norm is observed.
The 1.2% wage rise remains the lowest increase since 2009. Many companies are sidestepping wage restraint by offering bonuses instead. Today one in two Belgian employees is on variable remuneration. Six out of ten employees qualified for a bonus.
For employees the current average annual pre-tax bonus now stands at 2,250 euros. For senior managers this amount can rise to 17,300 euros.