Employees in essential professions, such as health care workers, shop workers and refuse collectors, receive on average a wage lower than the Belgian average gross wage in the private sector. That says the Belgian statistical office Statbel based on figures for 2018.
Does someone with an essential profession earn more or just less than the average Belgian? That is what the statistical service of the government Statbel asked in its latest report.
After all, essential professions have received extra attention in recent months due to the corona crisis. These are employees who were unable to telecommute during the lockdown because they are in frequent contact with customers and patients.
In 2018, a full-time employee in the private sector (including health care) earned 3,553 euros per month (see box below). That average is somewhat distorted by a number of extremely high and low wages. If you take it out, you will end up with an average wage of 3,312 euros gross per month.
When it comes to essential professions, people mainly think of healthcare personnel. Within that sector, however, wages are widely spread. For example, a doctor earns an average of 7,091 euros gross per month. This makes them one of the highest paid positions in the country. Other highly skilled profiles, such as dentists and pharmacists, also receive wages well above the Belgian average. Nurses already earn a lot less, but are still above average. They earn about 3,652 euros per month.
Healthcare workers earn the least in the health sector. They receive an average monthly wage of EUR 2,549 or an amount that is almost 30 percent below the wage of the average Belgian.