In 2020, the median salary in Switzerland amounted to 6665 gross francs per month for a 100%. Significant disparities remain between branches and 63.5% of low-wage positions are held by women, according to figures from the Federal Statistics Office. Between 2008 and 2020, the overall gap between the highest and lowest salaries remained relatively stable within the economy as a whole, indicates the Swiss salary structure survey 2020 carried out by the Office Federal Statistics Office (FSO) published on Monday.
The top 10% of earners saw their earnings increase by 11.8%. With an increase of 9.3%, employees belonging to the “middle class” experienced the least marked increase in wages, while the increase in wages for the 10% of the lowest paid amounted to 11 .6%.
Unsurprisingly, branches such as IT (9,206 francs), the pharmaceutical industry (10,040 francs) or even banks (10,211 francs) are clearly above the median level. The salaried “middle class” is represented in branches such as land transport (6,310 francs), health (6,821 francs), machinery industry (7,141 francs) and wholesale trade (7,145 francs).
Read also: The current “gig economy” has no future in Switzerland
Women overrepresented among the lowest salaries.
At the bottom of the wage pyramid, the OFS cites retail trade (4,997 francs), catering (4,479 francs), accommodation (4,488 francs) and even personal services (4,211 francs). In 2020, almost half a million people (491,900 exactly, compared to 480,300 in 2018) were in low-wage jobs. Of these employees, 63.5% are women.
The overall wage gap (median value) between women and men is gradually narrowing, also indicates the OFS. It stood at 10.8% in 2020, compared to 11.5% in 2018, and 12% in 2016. This pay gap between the sexes is partly explained by the level of responsibility of the position held, and by the types of economic activities carried out.
The wage gaps between the sexes are all the more marked the higher the position in the hierarchy. Women occupying positions of high responsibility earn 9,249 francs gross, while the remuneration of their male colleagues occupying the same level of responsibility amounts to 11,116 francs, a difference of 16.8% (compared to 18.6% in 2018 ).
Highest paid foreign executives
At the level of the economy as a whole, the level of remuneration of the Swiss remains on average higher than that paid to their colleagues of foreign nationality, ie respectively 6988 francs against 6029 francs. For positions requiring a high level of responsibility, however, foreign workers generally earn higher wages than those paid to employees of Swiss nationality, continues the OFS.
Thus, cross-border workers occupying managerial positions earn 10,692 francs and beneficiaries of a residence permit 12,268 francs, compared to 10,346 francs for Swiss employees. This situation is reversed for positions that do not require hierarchical responsibility.
Read also: The risk of stagflation has risen sharply in Europe
Regional disparities also persist, shows the OFS. For the most qualified jobs, the levels of remuneration are regularly higher in the Lake Geneva region (11,200 francs) and in the Zurich region (11,475 francs). At the other end of the scale, we find Ticino, whether for the most qualified jobs (8,537 francs) or for those requiring the least qualifications (5,137 francs).
This hierarchy is explained by the concentration of economic branches with high added value in certain regions, as well as by the structural specificities of the regional labor markets, according to the statistics office.
Highly variable bonuses
In 2020, 36.3% of employees (compared to 32.8% in 2018) received bonuses, the survey also shows. For senior executives, the value of bonuses averages 4,617 francs per year in public administration, 23,097 francs in the retail trade, 90,264 francs in the pharmaceutical industry, 127,329 francs in financial services and 134,381 francs in the banks.
People who do not hold a managerial position also receive bonuses, indicates the OFS, but their average value over a year is much lower (3998 francs). In the vast majority of economic branches, bonuses represent a component that is increasingly integrated into the overall system of remuneration for salaried work.