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How women are losing out in lucrative Swiss banking sector

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How women are losing out in lucrative Swiss banking sector
File photo: AFP
11:17 CEST+02:00
A new study shows that the Swiss banking industry is beset by serious problems in the form of a growing pay gap between men and women.

The study (here in French) by the Swiss Bank Employees’ Union (SBPV) takes a look behind the curtains at the secretive world of bank salaries in Switzerland.

Based on data provided anonymously by just over 4,700 bank staff, it shows that male bank employees earn an average 141,078 Swiss francs (€125,120) before tax per year when both salary and bonuses are factored in.

For female bank employees, the figure is an average 108,765 francs a year before tax.

This means the overall pay gap between male and female bank employees is now at 23.6 percent, according to the SBPV.

Read also: This is how much people in Switzerland earn

That compares to a 14.6 percent gender pay gap across the Swiss private sector, according to the Swiss Federal Statistics Office.

The new SBPV study also reveals that the gap in actual salaries between male and female bankers (an average 118,774 francs versus 96,414 francs) is now at 22.2 percent – up from 20.7 percent in 2017.

But when it comes to bonuses, the disparity is even clearer with the gender pay gap at a huge 36 percent (an average of 22,304 francs for men versus an average of 12,351 for women).

That gap for bonuses was a far lower 30.8 percent in 2017.

Age also a factor

This salary discrimination also increases with age. Male bank employees aged 20 to 29 earn on average 2,050 francs a year more than their female peers. But for staff aged 50 to 59, this difference balloons out to 31,284 francs a year.

Read also: Swiss women to strike for equal pay in historic protest

A similar story can be seen with bonuses, although here it is the number of years of experience rather than age which make a crucial difference. For example, the bonuses of men with 20 or more years banking sector experience are some 40 percent higher than those of women with the same level of experience.

The SBPV study also reveals the overall average pre-tax salary for Swiss bank employees is 128,785 francs (151,006 at private banks). For non-management employees, this figure is 95,697 francs, for middle management it is 134,249 francs and for senior management it is 211,118 francs.

According to the Swiss Federal Statistics Office, around 42 percent of the gender wage gap between men and women in Switzerland can be explained by factors including the level of education, years of experience and positions held.

On Friday, women across Switzerland will be striking for equal pay in a protest that comes 30 years after a historic 1991 strike over persistent inequalities between men and women in the country.

Read also: Glass ceiling - report highlights huge gender divide on huge boards

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