This short blog will give you some ideas of how it is like working in Belgium in general.
Belgium is a very small country, it is very easy to work with people coming from France, Germany, or even from US or Asian countries.
2. Multicultural – 多元文化
Thanks to its good location and small size, Belgium attracts lots of people from other countries, as a result, multi-culture is another characteristic.
3. Multilingual – 多语种
Never ask anybody “Do you speak Belgian?” , it just shows you don’t know anything about this country, Belgium has 3 official languages: Dutch, French and German, indeed, English is not one of them. To know a bit more about the differences of people who speak different language in Belgium, please check another blog here.
永远不要问一个人“你说比利时话吗？”, 这样只是显示你对这个国家一点都不了解， 其实比利时有3种官方语言分布在不同区域：法语，荷兰语和德语， 英语虽然很广泛使用但是不是官方语言之一。关于比利时人的区别，请参考我的另一篇博客。
Like many others, language is another thing that I am struggling for years in this country. In China, if you speak multiple languages, people would refer you as “legend”, however, in Belgium, even a cleaning lady is expected to be multilingual.
If you are working in a consulting company, you are expected to speak English, Dutch and French, if you happen to be a foreigner, then by default you master at least 4 languages, and it is very common.
4. You get 14 months salary, but only work for 11 month
If you are an employee of an Enterprise(not freelancer), you get 14 months salary per year, plus at least 20 days paid vacation. In China, if you are lucky, you get only 5 paid holidays.
Normally they don’t talk about salaries in Belgium, but if they do, there are 2 definitions of salaries: Bruno and Netto which means salaries before tax and after tax.
Even if you just graduated, tax from your income is up to 40%!
There is a very complex algorithm to calculate the tax per individuals depending on the family situation, number of childre…
6. Company car is not an Asset – 公司配车是很正常的事
Partially due to the high tax rate, company car in Belgium is very very common. Typically the employer lease or buy cars in the name of the company and provide the cars to employees as part of benefit.
7. Extra benefits – 福利还不错
Most companies provide extra benefit for employees such as:
Computer, phone, transportation..
Group insurance, death insurance..
8. Flexibility – 上下班时间的灵活性
I don’t know about other countries, but in China, the schedule for start and get off work is quite strict, typically you start at 9 and ends at 6, during noon you get 2 hours for lunch or siesta.
In Belgium, it is all up to individuals, you can arrive at 7am and leave at 4pm, or arrive at 10am but leave at 7pm, as long as you finish what you are expected to do, nobody would question you.
8. Traffic – 交通
Brussels, the capital of Belgium is located in the center of Belgium, also most of the big enterprises located at. If you want to go from one side of the country to another, you always need to pass the ring of Brussels, and, the ring of Brussels is not round, every morning, there are up to one hour of traffic jams on the ring.
9. Gender equality – 男女平等
So far I haven’t experienced any discrimination against females at my company or clients’, there are indeed less females in an engineering company due to personal interest, but there is no explicit discrimination against females, in fact the CEO of my company is a female and the CIO of my client is also a female, so I guess in Belgium people don’t discriminate your gender as long as you are competent.
If you are thinking of working in Belgium, don’t hesitate to check the details here.
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