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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Weather is finally becoming more 'reasonable', salaries are set to slightly increase in 2023, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
There is much talk in Switzerland about wages. Photo: Pixabay

It is finally raining in Switzerland, but is this enough?

After weeks of hot and dry weather, rain fell on many parts of Switzerland yesterday. This wet trend is expected to continue today, strengthening on Wednesday or Thursday, according to Nicolas Borgognon, a meteorologist at MeteoNews.

However, while it provides some relief for agriculture and nature in general, it is not certain whether the amount of rain will be sufficient to counteract the effects of drought that has impacted much of Switzerland.

“For that, it would take regular rain of low to moderate intensity, lasting at least 48 hours”, Borgognon said. “And at the moment, this is not yet envisaged”.

Gap between high and low salaries is growing

A new study into income disparity carried out by Unia labour union shows that in 2021, executives of 43 largest Swiss companies — including such giants as Roche, UBS, and Nestlé — earned an average of 141 times more than their lowest-paid employees.

While salaries of the lowest paid employees grew by only 0.5 percent between 2016 and 2020 (the last year for which official data is available), for the higher-ups the increase was 4 percent.

The union is callling for general raises, with the money taken away from shareholders and given to the employees instead.

“In this period marked by inflation and a possible spike in health insurance premiums, increases are becoming urgent”, Unia added.

But here’s also good news on the salary front…

Next year, wages are expected to increase by 2.2 percent on average

A survey by the KOF Economic Research Center of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich forecasts the average salary increase of 2.2 percent in 2023 — the largest one in 22 years.

The biggest increases — about 4.4 percent — will be in the restaurant and hotel industry, the sector that is among the most impacted by staff shortages.  

According to Valentin Vogt, president of the Swiss Employers’ Association, many companies have drawn on their reserves during the Covid pandemic, and do not have the financial capacity for higher increases.

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

Swiss schools don’t have enough teachers

As classes resume this week in many parts of Switzerland, a number of schools in various cantons are worried about scarcity of teachers.

According to education officials, this shortage is “more serious than ever”, driven mainly by  many teachers “feeling overwhelmed” by all the demands and pressure, in addition to actual teaching, including too many administrative tasks.

Added to this is the effort required to integrate children from Ukraine into local schools, which further complicates the already tense situation.

READ MORE : Why teachers in Swiss schools are worried about falling education standards

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Switzerland ranked the world’s most innovative country, developments on the job market, and other news in our roundup on Friday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Switzerland gets one more honour

After being named the Best Country in the World by US News & World Report this week, Switzerland also won the title of the world’s most innovative nation on Thursday.

This title is bestowed each year by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency headquartered in Geneva.

Switzerland is not exactly a newcomer to this index, having been chosen for the top spot among more than 130 countries for the 12th consecutive year.

Switzerland tops the ranking because “it leads globally in innovation outputs, and specifically in patents by origin, software spending, and high-tech manufacturing”, WIPO said.

READ MORE: Switzerland ranked ‘best country’ in the world
 

Swiss job market still going strong

New data from Michael Page recruitment agency indicates that jobs are plentiful in Switzerland: 15.6 percent more now than at the same time in 2021.

The strongest increase — 16.7 percent — is reported in the Lake Geneva region, which encompasses Geneva and Vaud.

In terms of jobs, the biggest demand is in the social sector, where the number of job listings has gone up by 48.2 percent.

Next is banking (40.3 percent), followed by administrative positions (37.2). 

Not surprisingly, demand in the energy sector also went up — by 22.8 percent.

Mortgage rates have gone up in Switzerland

The rates have risen sharply since the Swiss National Bank (SNB) increased the key interest rate by 0.75 percentage points on Friday.

New 10-year fixed mortgages, the most popular in Switzerland, saw their rates rise to 3.21 percent, against 2.94 percent in mid-June, according to a new study by Comparis price comparison site.

Rates on other terms also rose, with the five-year mortgage now at 3.0 percent from 2.54 in June. As for the 15-year mortgage, it reached 3.39 percent, compared to the 3.06 percent three months ago.

“The SNB’s decision to raise key interest rates took the markets by surprise”, said Leo Hug, Comparis’ money expert.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What the steep rise in Swiss interest rates could mean for you

Switzerland to go vegetarian tomorrow

On October 1st, the country will be celebrating the “Swisstainable Veggie Day”, with numerous restaurants throughout Switzerland offering “varied and creative” vegetarian meals on this day.

The vegetarian-only menu will also be served to Business Class passengers on board SWISS and Edelweiss planes, and all McDonald’s restaurants will also have only no-meat dishes on this day.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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