Retirement funds are the new joblessness, according to the Credit Suisse Worry Barometer 2018.
While Swiss voters are less afraid of losing their jobs than has been the case in previous editions of the influential study, 45 percent of voters now list the country's ailing Old Age and Survivor's Insurance (AHV/AVS) system – the Swiss population is going older and less people are paying in – as a top concern.
Following closely behind pensions in the list of concerns is healthcare and health insurance. This issue is now a worry for 41 percent of people – up a huge 15 percentage points in a year when spiralling healthcare costs have sparked intense debate.
In third place among the top concerns are foreigners, with 37 percent of respondents telling Credit Suisse this was a major worry. Meanwhile, asylum issues were a key concern for 31 percent of people, up a very big 12 percentage points.
The report's authors noted this was the first time in three years that these concerned had gained in importance, despite a small dip in the number of asylum seekers in Switzerland.
Other worries that have become more significant are environmental protection (up seven percentage points to 23 percent, and back among the top five concerns) and wages (a rise of nine percentage points to 15 percent).
Trust in political parties slumps
The Worry Barometer also looked at the trust levels in various institutions. It found that 70 percent of voters trusted the Federal Supreme Court, while the same figure trusted the police (up 14 percentage points). The Swiss National Bank and the Army (both 63 percent on the back of large rises) also enjoy high levels of trust.
At the other end of the scale, just 39 percent of people surveyed trusted political parties (down 13 percentage points).
Meanwhile, pride in Switzerland has fallen to its lowest levels since the aftermath of the financial crisis. A total of 79 percent of people said they were “very” or “somewhat” proud to be Swiss, down 11 percentage points on a year ago.
Threats to identity
In terms of threats to identity, reform backlog (including health insurance and pensions) and immigration (both 61 percent), and EU problems (60 percent) were the main concerns cited by survey respondents.
At the same time, many people were satisfied with their own life situation with 42 percent giving themselves a score of eight out of ten for this. In addition, 92 percent of people said their economic situation was “satisfactory, “good,” or “very good”.
The results of the 2018 Worry Barometer are based on interviews with 2,551 eligible Swiss voters carried out by pollsters gfs.bern on behalf of Credit Suisse in June and July 2018.