People – Social climate
Serene social climate contributes to competitiveness
A country’s social climate can be gauged by different indicators such as rates of absenteeism, the number of days lost to strikes, employee satisfaction levels and workforce retention.
Over the period 2005-2015, the whole of the chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector recorded an average of 20,764 strike days per year, equivalent to 0.23 of a day per year per employee (compared to 0.26 day per year for the manufacturing industry as whole). After a peak in 2014, the social climate moved back to below its trend level, to 0.17 days per employee.
According to a recent study by human resources specialist Securex (2017), there was a relatively high absenteeism rate among blue-collar workers in the chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector in 2016 (1.4 sickness notifications per blue-collar worker compared with an average of 1.1 for all Belgian employees). This difference has remained fairly constant in recent years. Absenteeism among the sector’s white-collar workforce is similar to levels in the rest of the economy.
The Securex study of staff turnover in 2017 confirms that employees in the sector have a high degree of company loyalty: only 2.5% of employees in the industry left their company voluntarily in 2016, compared with an average of 5.2% across the private sector as a whole.