Revealed: The true size of Switzerland's gender pay gap

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Revealed: The true size of Switzerland's gender pay gap
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A new survey looking at Swiss incomes last year reveals just how much men earned compared to women across a range of sectors.


The latest Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS) looks at self-reported income in 2018. It shows that men’s earnings consistently outstripped those of women. Here is what you need to know.

Salaried executive and senior managers are the biggest earners

The median pre-tax salary of full-time executives and senior managers working for a firm in 2018 was 119,000 Swiss francs (€107,000).  That means half of all people in this group earned more than this amount and half earned less.

For men, however, that median figure was 125,000 francs, while for women it was 96,000 francs. That is a difference of 23.2 percent.

Read also: Eleven numbers that tell the story of women in Switzerland today

For the second-highest paid group – academic and scientific professions – full-time male employees earned 16.4 percent more than their female colleagues – a median 105,700 francs a year before tax against 88,400 francs for women.

For technicians and engineers and other related professions, the difference between men and women was 17.8 percent, or a median 92,000 francs before tax for men against 75,600 francs for women.

Across the board, the smallest gender pay gap was among services and sales staff with men earning a median pre-tax yearly salary of 74,800 francs against 71,300 francs for women – a difference of 4.7 percent.

The median pre-tax salary for all full-time employees is 81,000

However, this amount last year was 85,200 francs for men and 71,500 francs for women. In short, men earned 16 percent more than women in overall terms.

Meanwhile. among full-time self-employed workers, the median for men was 80,000 francs and the median for women was 56,700 francs – a 21 percent difference.

Almost one in three full-time male employees earn 104,000 francs a year

A total of 29.2 percent of male employees who worked full-time in Switzerland in 2018 earned above 104,000 francs a year before tax– the top wage bracket in the SLFS.

But just 15.3 percent of full-time female employees earned this amount.

For the second-highest wage bracket (78,000 to 104,000 francs), 25.7 percent of male full-time employees earned this amount against 21.7 percent of women employed full time.

More than one in five full-time female employees earn less than 52,000 francs a year

A total of 20.3 percent of women working full time earned under 52,000 francs a year. For men, this figure was just 7.5 percent.

Some part-time female employees earn more than men

In a few cases, women working part-time (or less than 90 percent of a full working week) earned more than men in 2018. For example, women working part-time as administrative staff earn a median 40,300 francs against a median 38,000 francs for men.

Similarly, female part-time employees in sales and service earn a median 27,300 francs compared to 26,800 francs for men.

Explained and unexplained share in gender pay gap

According to the Swiss statistics agency, women earned 12 percent less than men in 2016 after "explainable" factors including professional position, levels of education and economic branch had been accounted for.

Read also: IN PICTURES - Women in Switzerland rise up in demand for equal pay



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