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How much do university graduates earn in Switzerland - and who earns the most?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 6 Sep, 2021 Updated Mon 6 Sep 2021 14:02 CEST
How much do university graduates earn in Switzerland - and who earns the most?
How much do graduates earn in Switzerland? Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash

Switzerland boasts some of the most competitive wages in the world. Here’s how much university graduates can expect to earn.


Switzerland is of course not a cheap country to visit, but for those who live here the wages usually offset the high cost of living. 

But while wages are high for almost all jobs and industries in Switzerland, those in the applied sciences are set to earn the most. 

READ MORE: How much should you save for a ‘comfortable’ retirement in Switzerland?

A study from FH Schweiz, an organisation which represents university graduates in Switzerland, shows just how lucrative a university degree can be. 

The study took into account graduates from Fachhochschulen, otherwise known as Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS). 

These universities specialise in particular applied sciences or other disciplines, such as art. 


How much do college graduates earn in Switzerland? 

The median salary for college graduates in Switzerland is CHF99,450, according to the findings. 

While graduates earn much more than those who have not graduated, not all graduate salaries are created equal. 

The location you work in and the industry type are two key factors, while gender also plays a role. 

Working in German-speaking Switzerland is likely to net you a higher wage than in the rest of the country, while the average salary of graduates in Zurich is the highest in the country at 108,000 francs per year. 

READ MORE: Will Zurich introduce a minimum wage?

Those in management roles earn between CHF101,000 and CHF133,000 per year. 

Around 30 percent of those surveyed work in management, with the remaining 70 percent in administrative or “lower management” positions. 

Almost everyone who took part in the survey - 97 percent - said they at least maintained their salary level since the previous survey in 2019, while 48 percent increased it. 

Differences in gender are significant, with men earning 10,000 per year higher than the average - and women earning on average 10,000 less. 

Men earn an average of 110,000 per year, while women earn 87,500 per year. 

FH Switzerland managing director Toni Schmid told Switzerland’s Watson newspaper this is due largely to where respondents work. 

“Almost half of the participating women work in the public sector, while three quarters of the men work in the private sector."

The ages of the men and women who responded is also different. 

“The amount of men under 30 who responded is around 25 percent, while half of the women who responded are under 30” Schmid said. 

Men are also more likely to work in the more lucrative technology and information technology sector, while women are more likely to work in health. 


In which industries do graduates earn the most? 

The study showed that the industry plays a large role in the amount a graduate will earn.

On average, those in finance, insurance, pharmaceuticals and the chemical industry earn the most, with an average annual salary of CHF115,000. 

The average salary for people in management is 111,429 francs, followed by computer science and consulting, where the average is 110,000CHF. 

At the lowest end of the spectrum, artists in Switzerland earn an average of 66,667 per year - just over half of that of those in the top industry bracket. 

Graduates in health and social services earn an average of 84,500 in Switzerland. 

How does this stack up compared to the average salary in Switzerland? 

According to FSO’s Swiss Earnings Structure Survey of 2018, the last year for which official statistics are available, the median monthly wage in Switzerland is 6,538 francs.

Swiss salaries: How much do people earn in Switzerland?

This works out to 78,456 per year on average, including both graduates and non graduates.

There are of course major disparities in earnings among non-graduates. 

For instance, taxi drivers are one of the lowest paid industry types in Switzerland – earning 38,000 per month gross.

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

Who completed the study? 

The survey was completed by FH Schweiz and took into account the salaries of 13,000 graduates. The figures are based on salaries in 2021. 

The survey is conducted every two years. 

70 percent of those who participated were under 40, while 58 percent were male and 42 percent female. 

More information on the study can be found here. 


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