Switzerland: Brexit deal is ‘good news for the whole world’

Switzerland's incoming president Guy Parmelin said Sunday the post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and the European Union was "good news for the whole world".

Switzerland: Brexit deal is 'good news for the whole world'
Swiss President Guy Parmelin and former British trade secretary Liam Fox. Photo: Stefan WERMUTH / AFP

Switzerland, which is not an EU member but has a relationship that guarantees market access, is also in its own tricky negotiations with the bloc which is eager to create an overarching agreement for the patchwork of deals.

In the first comments by the Swiss government on the post-Brexit deal, economy minister Parmelin — who takes over the annually rotating presidency on Friday — said the agreement was also welcome news for Switzerland.

“It is good news for the whole world that an agreement has been reached. For Switzerland too,” he told the Sonntags Zeitung newspaper.

London and the EU struck a trade deal on Thursday after 10 months of intense negotiations allowed them to soften the economic shock of Brexit.

When Britain leaves the EU single market at the New Year, it will not now face tariffs on cross-Channel commerce.

Parmelin did not comment on what the deal might mean for Switzerland's own framework agreement negotiations with the EU.

“We are now waiting for the text and will analyse the whole situation,” he said. Experts believe that the Swiss government is now coming under strong pressure to negotiate a better agreement with Brussels, the SZ reported.

After turning down EU membership in 1992, the Swiss voted in 2000 for a range of bilateral accords with the bloc.

Brussels has made no secret of its growing impatience to pin down a “framework accord” to pull together various bilateral agreements touching on access to the single market and fine-tuning applicable Swiss and EU laws.

Since 2008, the EU has insisted Switzerland must sign a framework agreement before concluding any new bilateral deals with the bloc.

Parmelin had to go into quarantine before Christmas after visiting London to sign an agreement which secures reciprocal, facilitated market access for service providers from Switzerland and Britain from January.

Parmelin takes over as president from Simonetta Sommaruga on Friday.

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Teachers to tech: What wages you can expect to earn in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for the high salaries paid to employees in most industries. Here's a closer look at what you can expect to earn.

Teachers to tech: What wages you can expect to earn in Switzerland

Switzerland’s high wages have been a magnet for foreign workers for many years, including for some 300,000 cross-border commuters whose Swiss jobs typically pay more than double of what they would earn for the same positions in their own countries.

This is an overview of how much people earn in certain sectors in Switzerland and how these wages compare with those paid in other nations.

Let’s begin with teachers.

As the school year has just started in most cantons, Watson news portal has released the most recent wages paid to Swiss teachers at various levels.

This data was culled from teachers’ organisations throughout the country.

These are some of the findings:

The median annual salary for kindergarten teachers ranges from 74,737 Swiss francs for new teachers, to 112,976 francs for more seasoned ones.

At the primary-school level, the lowest rate is 78, 435 francs and the highest 117 936 francs. In secondary schools, wages range from 90,787 francs  to 136,966 francs.

The highest pay scale (103,250 francs) is at the higher-professional level.

Regionally, Zurich pays highest salaries to teachers at all levels of the educational system, with Geneva in the second place at most levels. This follows the general trend of salaries across all sectors, where wages are the highest in densely-populated, industrialised areas.

On the other hand, teachers earn the least in eastern Switzerland and Ticino, depending on levels.

You can find more detailed per-canton information, including how teacher salaries have increased over the years here.

READ MORE: What do teachers earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

How to these wages compare to those earned by teachers across Europe?

The difficulties with different statistics is that they are measured using variable criteria, so the results will vary from one source to another.

In a global survey by the EU statistics site, Statista, Switzerland ranks in the third place for teachers income, below Luxembourg and Germany, but ahead of another high-income country, Norway.

However, only wages at upper-secondary schools were taken into account in this survey, rather than overall salaries.

Salaries in other sectors

A good overview of how much people in Switzerland earn in various industries comes from a report from released in March 2022 by the Federal Statistics Office and reported by The Local.

With an average monthly gross income of 6,555 francs, Switzerland has the highest average salary in Europe.

Around one in ten Swiss residents are considered ‘low wage earners’, which means they take home less than two thirds of the median wage each month (4,443 francs). 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, average salaries in the finance industry — 10,211 francs —per month are the highest of any sector. They are followed by workers in the pharmaceutical sector (10,040 francs), followed by 9,200 francs for those in IT. 

At the lower end of the spectrum, workers in hospitality earn 4,479 francs per month and those in the retail sector make 4,997 francs per month. 

The lowest wage category in Switzerland is the ‘personal services sector’, which includes hairdressers, beauticians and undertakers. Workers in that category earn 4,211 francs per month before tax. 

Jobs in the middle of the pack with averages reflecting the national median include the healthcare sector (6,821 francs) and manufacturing (7,141 francs). 

READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland

International comparison

How does the average monthly gross income of 6,555 francs compare to other nations?

Looking at neighbouring countries only, the median monthly salary in Germany is 4,100 euros (3,931 francs at the current exchange rate); 2,340 euros (2,245.50 francs) in France; 2,333 euros in Italy (2,238 francs); and 2,182 euros in Austria (2,238 francs).

These wages are much lower than in Switzerland, but so is the cost of living in those countries

On the other hand, average wages are higher than Switzerland’s neighbours in Norway (44.150 kroner per month — 5,694 francs — 44,514  kroner in Denmark (5,694 francs), 46,000 kroner in Sweden (4,154 francs), and 4,910 euros (4,710 francs) in Luxembourg.

READ MORE : Do wages in Switzerland make up for the high cost of living?