For members


Swiss wages: Salaries in Zurich hit record high

The median wage in Zurich was 7,820 Swiss francs (€6,935) in 2016 – the highest level ever – new figures from Switzerland's largest city show.

Swiss wages: Salaries in Zurich hit record high
Zurich is one of the world's most expensive cities. File photo: Depositphotos

The figure represents the median gross income in Zurich in 2016. That means half of all employees earned less than this amount and half earned more.

The 2016 figure was 1.3 percent higher than the 2014 figures and the highest ever, the city said in a statement published on Wednesday.

Read also: Swiss salaries – bankers no longer the biggest earners

Around one in four workers earned more than 10,000 francs a month and around the same number earned less than 6,000 francs.

The biggest earners were those with a higher education (a median 10,388 francs a month), management-level employees (10,538 francs) and those working in finance (10,949 francs).

The lowest earners were foreigners aged over 50. This group had a median gross income of 4,658 francs.

But while the salaries above may look high, Zurich is notoriously expensive. In fact, a study by Swiss bank UBS published earlier this year put Zurich in top spot globally for prices, with Geneva coming second.

On the plus side, Zurich also came second globally for purchasing power in the same study.

The latest Zurich income figures come from a biennial review carried out by the Swiss Federal Statistics Office. It is based on data from 213,000 people working in the city. Monthly gross income calculations included social welfare contributions, bonuses and a proportion of the extra 13th monthly salary paid to many Swiss workers.

Do you live and work in Zurich? Does the high cost of living cancel out the high wages? Let us know your experiences by sending an email here.

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