Worker salaries rise as managerial pay drops

The median salary for working people in Switzerland reached 6,189 francs ($6,035) a month last year, according to figures released this week by the federal statistics office (FSO).

Worker salaries rise as managerial pay drops
Photo: AFP

Nominal pay checks rose 1.2 percent from 2012 to 2014, the Neuchâtel-based FSO said in a report.

At the same time, pay for senior managers — those in the top 10 percent of management — dropped to 18,939 francs a month in 2014 from 23,444 in 2012, the report said.

Salaries for workers, among the highest in the world, ranged considerably, according to the field people were employed in.

Median salaries in the financial sector amounted to 9,549 francs a month, for example, while employees in the pharmaceutical industry earned a median wage of 9,694 francs a month.

At the lower end of the scale, were food industry workers (5,303 francs) and those employed in retail (4,761 francs), hotels and restaurants (4,333 francs) and personal services (3,910 francs), the FSO said.

The bottom ten percent of salaried workers earned less than 4,178 francs per month, while the best paid ten percent received more than 10,935 francs.

The gap between the highest and lowest groups narrowed, however, the report said.

Workers in Switzerland typically receive an extra month’s salary in December, resulting in 13 monthly payments per year.

Daniel Lampart, secretary of the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions, told broadcaster RTS that the figures showed workers had been able to successfully resist pressure from employers to cut wages because of the strong franc (versus the euro).

However, the increase between 2012 and 2014 was more modest that between 2010 and 2012 when median pay rose 3.2 percent, the FSO said.

Figures showed that the pay gap between men and women narrowed, although male workers still received 15.1 percent more than females last year, compared to 18.9 percent more in 2012.

The FSO said the gender pay gap was more noticeable for highly qualified positions.

In positions of significant responsibility, for example, women earned an average of 8,221 francs a month, while men in the same kind of posts earned 10,553 francs, 22 percent more.

The report showed that foreigners in top positions on average earned more than their Swiss counterparts while the reverse was true for jobs involving lower levels of responsibility.  

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Switzerland has made reciprocal agreements regarding working holiday visas with several countries. Here's what you need to know.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Over the past few decades, countries around the globe have rolled out ‘working holiday visa’ agreements.

These visa schemes, largely targeted at young people, allow people to work and live in a particular country, usually for a set period of time and pursuant to certain conditions.

In recent years, Switzerland has expanded its own form of a ‘working holiday visa’, although there are some important differences to be aware of.

Unlike some of the better known schemes like those in place in Australia, applicants are discouraged from moving around and are generally required to stay with the one employer for the duration.

The goal of the visa scheme is to allow applicants to “expand their occupational and linguistic skills in Switzerland”.

The visa scheme runs for 18 months and cannot be extended.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

The agreements are made between countries, meaning your fate will depend on whether your government has at some point struck a deal with Switzerland.

EXPLAINED: What’s the difference between permanent residence and Swiss citizenship?

If you are from the European Union or an EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), then you will be able to live and work in Switzerland as is – and will not need to go through this process.

If you come from outside the EU, you will only be able to apply for this visa if you are a citizen of the following countries:

Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United States.

What does ‘reciprocal’ mean in this context? 

Where these agreements have been struck, they have entitled citizens of both countries to certain rights and permissions in the other country. 

However, while these arrangements might be reciprocal, they are not identical. 

For instance, while citizens of Australia can enter Switzerland and work, the rules for Swiss citizens in Australia are significantly different. 

Therefore, if considering each program, be sure to study all of the relevant details as these will change from country to country and from agreement to agreement. 

More information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How to get a working holiday visa in Switzerland