Belgian worker second most expensive

17th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2007 , BRUSSELS – Belgium need not be surprised that more and more manufacturing companies are locating all or part of their production to low-income countries. The country may well be in a prime logistic location and have well-trained workers, but the high salary costs continue to be a serious setback.

17 October 2007

BRUSSELS – Belgium need not be surprised that more and more manufacturing companies are locating all or part of their production to low-income countries. The country may well be in a prime logistic location and have well-trained workers, but the high salary costs continue to be a serious setback.

This emerges once again from the figures provided by the leading "Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft" in Cologne. "When the question of investment arises, wages are still a determining factor" is the message from the German research institute. The research institute based its calculations on official figures from the European Union and domestic figures from 31 countries and closely examined what the hourly worker rate costs his or her employer. The figures are based on wage levels in 2006.

The comparison doesn’t look too good for Belgium. In this country a worker costs his employer EUR 34.19 per hour, including taxes and social security premiums. Only in Norway is the hourly rate per worker higher. This comes to EUR 38.07. Norway and Belgium are followed by Switzerland and Sweden. Then Germany comes in at fifth place with an hourly rate of EUR 32.03.

Just out of curiosity, the research institute made a separate calculation of wage costs in former West and East Germany. This shows that there is still a very wide gap between the two parts. In East Germany the hourly worker rate is only EUR 19.76, while in West Germany it comes to EUR 33.59.

In any case, the East European countries dangle at the bottom of the list. In Romania, a worker costs just EUR 2.45 per hour and in Bulgaria this is only EUR 1.53. In Poland, however, it shows an increase to EUR 5.16.

Southern Europe also pays its workers a lot less than Belgium and its surrounding countries do. In Greece, a worker costs his employer EUR 15.23 an hour. In Portugal the rate is only 8.81 an hour while Spain and Italy are quite a bit more expensive.

Other developed economies like Japan and the USA pay a lot less per hour than Belgium and its neighbours. In the USA, the hourly worker rate is EUR 23.94, while it is EUR 20.38 in Japan.

Belgium’s poor score is not only due to the relatively high wages, but also to the high taxes in the country. According to the latest figures from Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Commission, the tax burden amounted to 47 percent of the GDP in 2005. That figure put Belgium in the European leading group and meant that taxes were at their highest in ten years.

[Copyright: Expatica news]
 Subject: Belgian news

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