Brussels is, no doubt, an expensive city to live in. If you are considering a move there, or are already living there, you are probably wondering what is considered a good salary in Brussels. While there is no simple answer to this question, as it depends on a variety of factors, we can give you some general guidelines.
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect that your living costs will be about 30% higher in Brussels than in other parts of Belgium. The cost of living in Brussels is high, but salaries tend to be commensurate with the cost of living.
In Brussels, a net monthly salary of €2,100 is a good salary for a single person. This is about €45,000 yearly before tax or €25,200 net. For a family of four, a monthly salary of €4,200 or €50,400 annually after tax is a good salary. With these amounts, you can meet the city’s cost of living.
This article covers everything you need to know about salaries in Brussels. Read on to find out about the cost of living in Brussels and how much you need to earn to live comfortably in the city. Learn about salaries in Belgium in this article.
What is considered a good salary in Brussels, Belgium?
Before taking a job in the Belgian capital, it’s important to find out if the salary will allow you to enjoy all that the city has to offer. Since Brussels has some of the highest tax rates in Europe, you need to earn a good salary to meet the cost of living.
A monthly net salary of between €2,000 and €2,500 is considered a good salary. With this amount, you can rent a home in the city center, dine out once in a while, and put a good amount in savings for bigger investments.
To earn this amount, you need between €33,000 to €47,000 annually before tax.
If you earn a gross salary of €40,000 in Brussels, you’re among good earners. This comes to about €2,239 net salary every month.
Although this salary is considered good, it can sustain a single person in Brussels. A family will need double the amount to live a decent life in the city. If you’re a couple with two children, a monthly net salary of between €4,500 to €5,000 will give you a decent life in the city.
Example of a good salary in Brussels
- Gross annual salary: €45,000
- Monthly gross: €3,750
With this, your take-home amount will be €29,087 annually and €2,424 monthly. This is the average salary of professionals in the mechanical engineering, commerce, and forestry sectors.
With this amount, below is what your life will be like in Brussels.
|Housing||You can spend €1,000 on a one-bedroom apartment. This amount includes utility bills such as water, electricity, and garbage collection.|
|Food and groceries||€300 if you prefer buying groceries and cooking to eating out daily.|
|Transportation||€200 for public transport.|
|Disposable income||€300 for internet, clothes, and entertainment.|
|You can enjoy a three or four-course meal in restaurants once in a while.|
|You can travel out for weekend getaways.|
The monthly fixed costs come to around €1,500. If you’re a less spender, you can put up to €800 into a savings account for a house or car.
To live a good life in Brussels, you need to earn above the minimum wage as a single person. The minimum wage in Brussels is €1,652 per month. From 1st January 2022, it has increased as follows:
- Employees above 18: €1,658 to €1,691.
- Employees aged at least 19 with more than 6 months in a senior position: €1,702 to €1,736.
- Workers aged at least 20 with over 12 months in a senior position: €1,702 to €1,756.
Let’s say you earn about €2,000 a month, slightly above the minimum wage. Your life in the city will be as follows:
- Housing: A one-bedroom apartment outside the city center at €765
- Food and groceries: €300
- Transportation: €50 for a monthly pass
- Health insurance: €99
- Disposable income: €300 for leisure, eating out, and clothing
- Savings: €500
- You can join a fitness club for €33 a month.
How you live in Brussels depends on the part of the city you choose and your spending habits. Housing costs, for example, are higher in the city center than in the city’s outskirts. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs €922 while the same is €765 in the outskirts.
If you’re a family of four, you’ll find a three-bedroom apartment in the city center at €1,586 and €1,390 on the outskirts.
Taxes in Belgium
Keep in mind that Belgium has some of the highest taxes in European Union. Therefore, the largest part of your earnings will go to the state.
As an employee, you will pay income tax and contributions to social security. Social security takes up 13.07% of your gross salary; you can see income tax rates below.
|Income bracket (annual salary)||Tax rate|
|€0.01 – €13,870||25%|
|€13,870 – €24,480||40%|
|€24,480 – €42,370||45%|
Common jobs in Brussels and salary ranges
There are some common jobs in Brussels, and you may be fortunate to get such a position. Let’s look at them and the salary ranges.
|Job title||Annual salary range|
|Software engineer||€30,000 – €56,000|
|Business Analyst||€31,000 – €61,000|
|Registered nurse||€48,409 – €84,524|
|Associate director||€70,000 – €120,000|
|Cyber specialist||€33,700 – €49,700|
|Medical assistant||€32,690 – €42,700|
|Business lawyer||€34,700 – €54,700|
|Lecturer||€35,956 – €61,517|
|Chef||€33,600 – €49,600|
|Cleaner||€22,840 – €31,521|
|Banker||€32,327 – €53,417|
|Bus driver||€26,900 – €38,800|
More statistical data on typical salaries in Brussels:
|C LEVEL EXECUTIVE||€59,486|
|HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER||€25,006|
Average salary in Brussels in 2022
The average salary in Brussels in 2022 is €3,417 a month or €41,013 annually. This is a 3% increase from 2021.
The average salaries in Brussels differ in every field as follows:
|Field||Average salary (monthly)|
- Experience: It differs between entry-level workers and those with several years of experience. The average salary of an entry-level employee in Brussels is €2,336 per month. A civil engineer with 6 to 10 years of experience, for example, will earn €3,250 monthly on average.
- Gender: There’s a gap between the average salaries of male and female workers in the same job in Brussels. The annual average wage of male workers is €74,560 while that of females is €70,600. This shows that female workers earn 6% less than males in the same profession.
- Sector: Public sector employees earn an annual average salary of €75,540, while those in the private sector get €70,600. The public sector workers earn 8% more than those in the private sector.
- Type of job: Let’s look at the average salaries across different positions in Brussels.
How much do you need to live comfortably in Brussels?
The cost of living in Brussels depends on the type of household, your spending habits, and which part of Brussels you live in. On average:
- A couple with two children will need about € 3,500 without rent to live comfortably in Brussels.
- A single person needs around €900 exclusive of rent to live comfortably in Brussels.
To meet the cost of living in Brussels, you need to earn above the average of €3,417 a month. To live comfortably in Brussels, you need to earn €48,000 annually after tax. It translates to €4,000 monthly. With this amount, you can divide it as follows to meet your monthly expenses:
- Rent: €1,300
- Food and groceries: €400
- Utilities: €200
- Health insurance: €100
- Transportation: €200
The total fixed costs amount to €2,200, which leaves you with €1,800 to share between disposable income and savings. This salary can sustain a big household of three or four.
Let’s look at the typical expenses in Brussels:
Housing costs will take a significant percentage of your salary in Brussels. They vary depending on the location, quality, and size. You’ll find that neighborhoods like Uccle, St.Pierre, Woluwe, and Ixelles have higher rental prices because they’re close to the city center.
Areas such as Waterloo, Overijse, and Tervuren are further away from the city and provide family-friendly housing with pools, gardens, and garages. The monthly rent for different house sizes in Brussels is as follows:
|House type||City center||Outside the city center|
In addition to the rent prices, are utility costs which cover electricity, water, and garbage collection. Some landlords include these costs in the rent while others don’t. On average, utilities cost €123 per month.
There are several stores, including famous supermarket chains such as Carrefour and Delhaize, where you can buy food and groceries in Brussels. If you prefer fresh vegetables and fruits, you can buy them at the Marche de l’Abattoir market.
The cost of essential food items n Brussels is as follows:
- A liter of milk- €0.94
- A dozen eggs – €3.73
- 500g of cheese – €5.07
- 500g chicken – €4.36
- 1kg of tomatoes – €1.91
- 1kg potatoes – €1.49
Brussels has several eating-out options depending on your budget and preference. They include snack stands, international restaurants, and hotels. The cost, on average, of one meal s €15 to €25. A fast food meal costs about €8 to €10, and coffee ranges from €2.80 to €3.50.
Public transport is the most common means of transportation in Brussels. The cists are as follows:
- One-way ticket – €2.10
- Return ticket used within 24 hours – €4.20
- A five-journey ticket – €8.00
- A monthly pass – €50.00
- One-day travel card – €7.50
Taxis charge €1.80 for every kilometer and €25 for an hour’s wait. If you live on the outskirts, you’ll pay €2.70 per kilometer. The cost of gasoline is €1.67 per liter. If you want a car, a Volkswagen golf costs €25,227.
Health insurance in Belgium
For expats in Belgium, we recommend private health insurance from international provider Cigna Global. Their coverage is comprehensive and inexpensive compared to many public insurances.
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