In 2016, the level of Belgian productivity was the highest since the financial crisis of 2008.
It has increased by almost 6% compared to 2012. This high level makes Belgium the second most productive country in Western Europe, with Switzerland at the top of the ranking.
Labor productivity is defined as the value of output per full-time equivalent (FTE) or employee working full time. In Belgium it was € 296,000 per FTE. The average in Western Europe is 157,000 euros per FTE.
The figures were reported in a report yesterday on human capital in Belgium by PwC consultancy.
However, according to the consultancy firm, Belgian companies have a lower than average return on investment and is ranked 10th in this area. In 2016, for every euro invested in a worker, the return on investment is estimated at 1.11 euros in Belgium against 1.14 on average in other countries of Western Europe.
To improve its competitiveness, Belgium should consider reducing its salary and non-wage costs, the study concludes.
PwC also sees a decrease in full-time employment in favor of part-time work. Thus, over the last ten years, the sample of companies studied has experienced a reduction of 39,000 full-time hours, a decrease of 9%. 97% of the full-time jobs removed were held by men, says the board.
At the same time, half-time jobs have increased significantly, creating 30,000 new jobs. In 2016, one-third of all jobs in the sample were part-time.
This study was conducted on a sample of 594 small and medium-sized companies with at most 250 workers for at least one year between 2010 and 2016.