Swiss employees earn amounts that others can only dream about

14 Sep 2018 17:53|Marcin Lipka

"Earnings in Switzerland are breathtaking. More than 90% of full-time employees receive more than 4,000 CHF a month and the most common amount is 6,502 CHF, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office. Wages exceeding 8,000 CHF are also not unusual," writes Marcin Lipka, Conotoxia Analyst.

Recently, there has been circulation of data on Swiss workers who, in order to compete for adequate wages, publish information about their income ( In some cases, earnings seem surreal at first glance.

A social worker earns 8,285 Swiss francs and a maths teacher 9,000 CHF. Although it sounds surprising from the perspective of wages in some countries, for example, in Poland, the entries are probably true. This is confirmed, for example, by the latest report by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) on the structure of remuneration.

If you are looking for a job, go to Switzerland

FSO publish the wage structure every two years. The data disclosed a few weeks ago shows the situation as of October 2016. It presents that the median (half of the employees earn below this level, and half above) gross earnings amount to CHF 6502. For comparison, in Poland, the median for the same month and year was 3510 PLN.

An interesting fact is that salaries in the public sector in Switzerland are much higher than in the private sector (the median is CHF 7,873) and in the private sector, CHF 6,235. Another interesting point to mention is, regardless of age, education or profession, over 91.4% of workers in Switzerland receive over 4 thousand francs for full-time work, with the most common salaries ranging from 5-6 thousand CHF (in Poland it is in the range of 2,173-3,259 PLN).

According to FSO data, over 22% of employees earn at least 8,000 CHF (over 30,000 PLN) per month before tax and health insurance contributions are paid, working on a full-time basis.

The data also shows that the wage structure is unconcerned with profession. Experience and education are the most important factors, which clearly raise salaries.

However, this structure does not apply to management (managers and directors) in the key sectors of the Swiss economy. In the pharmaceutical, financial services and median insurance sectors, monthly gross salaries reach 23,000 CHF (87,000 PLN) and 20,000 CHF (76,000 PLN), respectively. Top management (10% of the best earners) can enjoy average salaries exceeding 53 thousand francs (about 200,000 zlotys) every month.

How much could you get?

A sceptic would say that the Swiss earn a lot, but they also bear high costs of living. And this is somewhat true. According to Eurostat data, these expenses are almost three times higher than in Poland. It is also necessary to buy private health insurance (about 500 francs per month), as well as pay taxes on gross salary - federal and for the canton.

However, the gross wage burden does not clearly exceed those in Poland (approx. 30-35%). High prices in Swiss shops can be overcome by choosing goods from the bottom shelf of the supermarket, which in many countries would be on a middle or even higher level. However, one cannot hide the fact that prices of services are steep. Renting or buying a flat is also expensive and eating at a restaurant can make a big dent in your wallet.

FSO has a publicly available resource that can accurately check your hypothetical salary. The data contains hundreds of thousands of authentic records. An example? A full-time social worker employed in the North-West Switzerland region (near Basel) and having 15 years of experience and at the same time not occupying a management position receives more than 7,000 francs gross (median for both sexes). Data for other professions and positions can be found on the Federal Statistical Office’s website (Bundesamt für Statistik in the Salarium section).

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