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The social balance sheet 2008

Listed author(s):
  • Ph. Delhez

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • P. Heuse

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • Y. Saks

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

Registered author(s):

    There was an average annual increase in employment of 1.7 p.c. in 2008, according to the statistics gleaned from a reduced population of enterprises that filed their social balance sheet by 16 September 2009 at the latest. End-of-year results (+0.8 p.c.) point to a significant slowdown in growth during the course of the year, reflecting the economic downturn which began at the end of 2007. Full-time staff numbers stabilised, but the number of part-time workers continued to grow. The expansion of this part-time working arrangement is not only attributable to the recruitment of workers on shorter hours ; shifts between full-time and part-time working arrangements have also been observed, especially in large firms that have restructured. As a result of the economic downturn, the share of temporary work has fallen. In firms filing a full-format social balance sheet, a reduction in the use of temporary agency workers has also been noted. The overall wage bill in the firms included in the reduced population grew by 5.3 p.c. in 2008. At the same time, the volume of labour expanded by 1.6 p.c., so that costs per hour worked increased by 3.7 p.c. on average. This article includes an assessment, by branch of activity, of how closely the indicative wage norm set for the period 2006-2008 has been followed. This survey was carried out on the basis of a population of firms that had filed a social balance sheet for the three consecutive years. For the first time ever, thanks to the introduction of a new version of the social balance sheet, it has been possible to have a breakdown of staff numbers by educational level. On average, women tend to have a more intensive level of training than men. Workers’ educational requirements vary considerably according to the branch of activity. Since the year 2008, training activities have been broken down between formal and informal vocational training and initial training, whereas before only formal training and a very small proportion of informal training had been taken into account. Participation rates for these three types of training come to respectively 37, 21 and 1 p.c. of the workforce. Budgets for training accounted for a total of 1.7 p.c. of staff expenses, including 1.2 p.c. for formal training alone, which is still well below the target for the private sector that had been set at 1.9 p.c. for 2006. Major differences in training policy can be observed in firms classified by size and branch of activity, whether it is a question of ranging from the volume of training activities, the size of budget, or type of training selected. An analysis of individual data shows that the probability for an enterprise to provide formal or informal training depends above all on its size, with the branch of activity ranking second. Whether it is linked to a non-resident firm and the composition of the workforce (notably the relative share of staff with higher education qualifications) also play a significant role. Within firms that do offer training, the dispersion of training costs depends very much on firm-specific factors, which cannot be taken into consideration by a general model.

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    Article provided by National Bank of Belgium in its journal Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): (2009)
    Issue (Month): iv (December)
    Pages: 83-132

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    Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2009:m:december:i:iv:p:83-132
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    1. Ch. Piette & M. Pisu, 2008. "Gross job flows and firms’ international activities," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue ii, pages 39-53, June.
    2. Martin Andersson & Hans Lööf & Sara Johansson, 2008. "Productivity and International Trade: Firm Level Evidence from a Small Open Economy," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 144(4), pages 774-801, December.
    3. M. Druant & Ph. Du Caju & Ph. Delhez, 2008. "Results of the Bank’s survey of wage-setting in Belgian firms," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 49-73, September.
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