Belgian companies expect income to return to pre-corona levels in 6 months – 5% will never recover


With the economic restart underway, jobsite StepStone has asked Belgian managers & companies what the impact of COVID-19 is, what their plans are and how they expect their business to recover.

While 66% has a back-to-business plan (ready or in the final stages) and homeworking is a major part of it, future crisis resilience is less of a priority. StepStone also looked at the recruitment plans post-corona in this study with over 700 Belgian managers.


Strong deterioration in monthly turnover and productivity: only 50% of before crisis numbers

Generally speaking, 54% of the Belgian managers say their company has experienced a (strong) deterioration due to the corona crisis – only 8% mentions it having a positive impact.

Sectors especially hit are Sales & Purchasing and Engineering. The IT sector, however, shows a status-quo, while the Manufacturing & manual build sector shows a more positive evolution.

Clear impact was also noticeable when looking at the monthly turnover. On average, the monthly financial income for Belgian companies was cut in half due to COVID-19 (-51%) – with there being a similar trend for the productivity of their company (-49%).


Income and productivity expected to return to pre-crisis levels in six months – 5% of companies will never recover

At least six months are needed for most companies to return to levels of income and productivity from before the corona crisis. According to more than a quarter of the Belgian managers (26%), it will take 3-6 months.

An accumulated 20 percent expects this evolution to happen between the economic restart now and two months at maximum. Another 21% thinks it will take up to one year, while an alarming 5% of Belgian managers say their company will not recover from the crisis.


Managers need more testing, financial support & the reopening of schools

To support the companies with this positive evolution, StepStone asked managers how they could be helped. Crucial elements mentioned were more antibody testing for employees (35%); additional liquidity and financial measures provided by the government (24%) & the complete reopening of schools (23%).

Not important at all was the expansion or reopening of the public transport network (with 80% saying this was not a priority), presumably due to increased homeworking.


Most companies already have a back-to-business plan – and homeworking will be crucial for the foreseeable future

One in three of Belgian managers already has a back-to-business plan in place (35%) or has one in the final stages (31%). A clear part of most strategies is the continued implementation of homeworking (70%). Other factors are ensuring & enforcing health policies at work (68%) & social distancing (66%). Interestingly enough, 8% will not take any special measures for the return to business.

More than half (62%) will also invest in crisis resilience to avoid a similar future situation, although this is not an immediate priority for them. Here as well, home office is the most important mentioned element & 57% will invest in the expansion of the home office and digital infrastructure in the coming months.


1 in 5 will start recruiting right away – a quarter of managers will wait at least a year

In the back-to-business plan, not all managers are immediately expecting future growth in their company. Only 1 in 5 (21%) will start recruiting right away, while another 20% will wait for 3-6 months & for more than a quarter (26%), it will take at least a full year before they will start recruiting new employees.



StepStone completed this survey on Thursday 14th of May 2020. As the study is a snapshot of thousands of Belgian employees’ current situation, this data is time sensitive and the situation may change. Our analysists have screened the data to ensure both the representation and the validity of respondents’ answers are accurate.

In total, there were 747 filled in surveys submitted by Belgian managers specifically in Dutch, French and English.

For specific inquiries, please contact:
Killian Cramers
+32 2 209 97 44 or +32 472 55 00 97