2014 was a year of recovery for Belgium, with growing confidence reflected in increased hiring levels across a range of sectors including manufacturing, retail, services and even banking. Companies focused on filling senior roles during the first half of the year, followed by a shift to more mid-level positions as the year progressed. Overall, the positive outlook for Belgium is expected to continue in 2015, although a general shortage of talent means competition for the best candidates will be fierce.
Antoine Biot, Director of Robert Walters Belgium, comments:
'For the first time in 5 or 6 years, we saw signing bonuses being offered, as well as salary increases by 10-15% for job movers and 5-10% for non-movers. In 2015, salaries are likely to go up. In order to recruit and retain the professionals they need, we advise Belgian companies to be flexible in their approach and outlook. Hiring managers will need to move fast and offer competitive financial packages if they want to secure their ideal candidates. Offering a work-life balance, remote-access working and training & development will also be vital retention measures in the year ahead.’
Belgium highlights from the survey
Banking and financial services
As assets continue to return to Belgium, we saw healthy demand for front office and sales professionals, particularly in asset management and private banking. In 2015, we anticipate business transformation and regulatory requirements will remain key recruitment drivers. Financial services firms are likely to strengthen core management positions and will continue recruiting risk managers, compliance and auditing professionals. Such candidates are in a strong position to negotiate higher salaries in 2015.
Commerce and industry
In 2014, companies switched focus to create their financial impact through investment and strategy changes rather than cost-cutting, which led to strong demand for business controllers, internal auditors and finance managers and we expect demand for these professionals to continue in 2015. Competition for trilingual professionals with sector experience and soft skills are in short supply and we expect slight salary increases for these candidates.
Engineering and supply chain
Legal changes triggered a greater need for QSHE professionals in 2014 and these professionals are likely to remain in demand during 2015. Companies will increasingly seek specialists with strong commercial insight, in addition to technical knowledge. Professionals with in-demand skills and technical expertise will be able to negotiate salary increases and we anticipate that mid-level managers will particularly benefit from salary uplifts when changing roles.
In 2014, we saw a greater demand for generalists rather than specialists. We anticipate that companies will place greater emphasis on business planning and strategy as well as strengthening their career development offerings in the year to come. As the economy improves and candidate confidence grows, retention will be a key priority for companies. HR functions will need to deliver strong business partnering and implement effective retention strategies.
Demand for IT professionals was driven by a sector-wide emphasis on applications, infrastructure, big data and cloud solutions, which will persist in 2015. The struggle to source skilled developers and SAP consultants will intensify and we expect salaries will continue to grow, particularly for specialists experienced in the latest technologies.
Professionals responded to the economic upturn by seeking greater flexibility and opportunities for career redirection. We witnessed an increase in practitioners moving from permanent to interim employment, particularly within IT management, HR, project and programme management. In 2015, companies will seek to capitalise on the strengthening economy by expanding their business – technical project managers with an engineering background will be in strong demand as a result. We expect a slight increase in daily rates, especially for HR interim managers who will be in particular demand.
About the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey
Now in its 16th year, the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey provides an in-depth analysis of salaries earned around the world by both permanent and contract workers across a wide range of sectors: banking, accounting & finance, legal, engineering & supply chain, IT, HR, and interim management. It also provides an insight into recruitment trends in these areas.
A full copy of the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey can be requested here.