Rising salaries and continued talent shortages in 2020


The 21st edition of the Robert Walters Salary Survey reveals that in 2019, Belgium experienced strong economic growth, allowing organisations to expand their teams.

The sectors with high demand for talent are the financial sector and industry. For 2020, we expect organisations to continue to grow and recruit, but they will still face talent shortages. 


Professionals in highest demand

The interim management market flourished in 2019. In 2020, organisations will continue to look for independent professionals with experience in optimisation projects and project management skills in particular. 

In 2020, the banking and insurance sector will continue to recruit candidates with expertise in risk and compliance. In addition, we expect the demand for accountants, controllers, insurance specialists and internal auditors to remain high.

Within the industrial sector, organisations are mainly looking for engineers with good technical and soft skills. These are required to face the digitisation and the evolution of the market. Özlem Simsek, Managing Director at Robert Walters: "For today's engineers, for example, it is important to have a certain commercial feeling. After all, more and more of them are expected to be present 'in the field' to advise clients." 

Within the healthcare sector as well, digitalisation is encouraging organisations to look for specialists with good technical skills. Recruitment activities are mainly focused on doctors, biologists and pharmacists. 

Rising salaries in 2020

Supply is generally lower than demand. Professionals are aware of this situation and are therefore in a good position to negotiate their salaries, especially for accountants, auditors and controllers. Offering an attractive salary or a salary increase is therefore an excellent technique for companies to attract candidates and prevent in-house talent to leave or joining the competition.

We expect salaries in the above sectors and roles to increase in 2020. However, it is mainly engineers, accountants, controllers and auditors who can expect the highest salary increases. In addition, 83% of respondents to the survey expect to receive a salary increase in 2020.

The most important factor explaining these salary increases, regardless of the sector, is the talent shortage.

Continued talent shortage

"In 2020, Belgium will have to contend again with a talent shortage. As a result, the competition between companies to attract the best candidates will continue." 

Several factors explain this talent shortage. Firstly, the economic growth in 2019 made the flourishing labour market possible. In the financial and industrial sectors, demand for talent often exceeds supply. Secondly, there is a constant high demand for professionals with good technical and language skills in French, Dutch and English. The latter, however, are often lacking. 

Robert Walters therefore advises organisations to a quick and smooth recruitment process in order to prevent the best candidate from accepting a competitor's offer. A recruitment process of more than three weeks discourages professionals from looking for a new job. It is also recommended that no more than three interviews occur with the same person. Finally, organisations will need to pay close attention to their employer brand in order to attract and retain the best talent in 2020.


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Request a free copy of our latest Salary Survey for more information or contact one of our offices.

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