More than one in five employees working for a Belgian SME are experiencing real financial problems, according to SD Worx’s quarterly survey of these companies.
Despite the drop in energy prices and overall cost of living, the financial worries of employed people in Belgium have not cooled off, with a recent survey showing that over one in five (21.3%) of employees at small and medium-sized companies face financial challenges. The percentages differ per region, said Annelies Rottiers, SME advisor at SD Worx employment administrator.
“Our quarterly survey shows that mainly Walloon SMEs notice financial stress among their employees.” Here, the percentage reached almost 37%; in Flanders, where disposable household income is on average higher, this percentage is much lower (13%). Brussels finds itself in between (22.6%).
Managers of SMEs, which themselves were weighed down heavily by increased energy and raw material prices as well as rising labour costs due to wage indexation, notice this financial stress in the workplace mainly through more requests for payment of wages, advances or a pay rise.
But this financial stress also has an impact on employee performance: one in ten SMEs speaks of a tenser working atmosphere and less productivity.
In terms of resources, more than half of SMEs or HR departments feel they have only limited power to help with personal financial problems. However, SD Worx stressed that a human resources manager can certainly try to start the conversation if there are clear signals of financial concerns to avoid negative consequences on the person’s work life.