For many people, Switzerland is the ideal place to live because of the high salaries and the high standard of living. That’s why many find themselves eager to move to Switzerland and join its job market. If you are one of those people who is considering taking a job in Switzerland, here is all that you need to know about minimum wage and average salary in Switzerland.
What Is the Minimum Wage in Switzerland?
For people who want to know: Does Switzerland have a minimum wage? It is important to mention that there is no minimum wage in Switzerland. In 2014 Switzerland held a referendum that proposed setting the minimum wage at CHF 22 per hour or CHF 4,000 per month, but the move was rejected—even though the proposed pay was higher than the rest of Europe. This remains an issue to this day.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)has found that Switzerland has the highest minimum wages in the world, at around CHF 6,500 per month.
Who determines the minimum wage in Switzerland?
Despite the failure of the government to present a minimum wage in Switzerland, the wages are negotiated between the employer and the employee. However, there are differences in each sector.
Minimum wage variations in Switzerland
Several Swiss cantons have approved their minimum wage. Neuchatel and Jura were the first cantons to approve a minimum wage in 2017. The minimum wage is set at CHF 20 per hour. With a referendum held in 2020, voters in Geneva set the world’s highest minimum wage at CHF 23 per hour. Meanwhile, Basel became the first German-speaking canton (The latest canton in Switzerland) to set a minimum wage at CHF 21 per hour. On the other hand, cantons of Zurich, Winterthur, and Kloten are also working to set a minimum wage of CHF 23 per hour.
Minimum wage calculator in Switzerland
If you want to check how much you can earn by taking a job in Switzerland, The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) provides a wage calculator to give you an idea of what your minimum wage can be based on your age, sector, qualifications (education, training, years of experience, etc.) and based on the canton you plan on working in.
Switzerland’s minimum wage compared to other countries’ minimum wage
Switzerland is in the top 4% of the countries that have the highest minimum wage. According to International Currency, Switzerland’s yearly minimum wage is CHF 14,089 or USD 15,457. There are eight countries with a higher minimum wage than Switzerland, such as Denmark ($44,252.00), United Kingdom ($22,597.00), Luxembourg ($19,426.00), Netherlands ($19,335.00), Ireland ($18,965.00), France ($17,701.00), New Zealand ($16,462.00), and San Marino ($15,707.00).
Average Salary in Switzerland
Over the past decade, Swiss workers have been among the highest-paid in the world. According to OECD, Switzerland’s average income has been CHF 64,824, and it has been steady for the past years.
When thinking of getting a job in Switzerland one should know that the average salary is different in each sector, job function, years of experience, and education level.
Average salary in Switzerland by sector
Based on the data the Swiss Federal Statistics Office (FSO) took in 2018, it showed that the average monthly salary in Switzerland in different sectors are as shown below:
- Education: CHF 8,570 per month,
- Human health and social network: CHF 6,549,
- Financial and insurance activities: CHF 9,286,
- Energy supply: CHF 8,199,
- Water supply, waste management: CHF 6,179,
- Construction: CHF 6,218,
- Transportation and storage: CHF 6,097,
- Professional, scientific and technical activities: CHF 7,873.
Average salary in Switzerland by job function
Based on the full-time contracts by Lohncomputer, the average salary for different jobs in Switzerland per month is presented below. You will earn more or less, based on the canton since they set a different wage. You will earn more in larger cantons like Zurich, Geneva, and Basel.
- Teacher:CHF 87,500/year, CHF 7,292/month,
- Physiotherapist: CHF 78,000/year, CHF 6500/month,
- Pilot: CHF 76,000/year, CHF 6,334/month,
- Stewardess: CHF 50,000/year, CHF 4209/month,
- Vet: CHF 130,000/year, CHF 10,834/month,
- Architect: CHF 75,000/year, CHF 6,250/month,
- Policeman: CHF 82,200/year, CHF 6,850/month,
- Journalist: CHF 85,200/year, CHF 7,100/month,
- Jurist: CHF 108,000/year, CHF 9,000/month,
- Lawyer: CHF 111,600/year, CHF 9,300/month,
- Engineer: CHF 108,500/year, CHF 9,042/month.
Average salary in Switzerland by years of experience
Years of experience is another important factor in determining the salary. More years of experience means the wage is higher.
Employees having experience from two to five years earn 32% more than beginners across all industries and disciplines. On the other hand, professionals with experience of more than five years earn 36% more than those with five years or less of experience. When employees work for ten years in a company, the salary increases by 21%, and an extra 14 % for those who have crossed 15 years.
Average salary in Switzerland by education level
We can all agree that a degree can increase your income. Salary changes based on your level of education as well. Workers with a certificate or a diploma earn 17% more than those with a high school degree. Employees with a bachelor’s degree earn 24% more than those who only have a certificate or diploma. Professionals who managed to get a master’s degree earn about 29% more than those who have a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, employees with a Ph.D. earn 23% more than those with a master’s degree even though they do the same job.
Regional variations in the average salary in Switzerland
Change in salary varies drastically from one location to another. Switzerland has large regional variations when it comes to salaries. We will show you below which areas pay higher or lower salaries than the national average.
- Lake Geneva Region: up to +8.3%,
- Northwest Switzerland: up to +3%
- Zurich: up to +7.9%
Whereas, other regions that pay lower than the national average:
- Mittelland: up to -4.3%
- Eastern Switzerland: up to -14.2%
- Central Switzerland: up to -6.4%
- Ticino: up to -18%.
Switzerland’s Economic Outlook
After experiencing a +3.5% growth in the economy in 2021, Switzerland is expected to experience higher average growth in 2022. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) forecasts 3% gross domestic product (GDP) growth, with supply chain problems and new health measures in response to the new variant of Covid-19, Omicron.
Businesses, in health and social services, are finding it hard to find professional skilled workers. SECO predicts that Switzerland’s unemployment rate should decline over the next few years from 2.4% in 2022 to 2.3% in 2023, and so on.
Switzerland is one of the countries that have the highest minimum wage and average salary. The country pays its employees differently based on their level of education and years of experience. So if you’re still wondering if Switzerland is a financial safe choice for you, we believe you got your answer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How does the cost of living in Switzerland compare to the average salary?
A: Switzerland is known for its high cost of living, which can be offset by higher salaries compared to many other countries. However, affordability can still be a concern for many, especially in larger cities like Geneva and Zurich.
Q: Are there sectors in Switzerland that have a set minimum wage?
A: Yes, there are. While Switzerland doesn’t have a national minimum wage, some sectors have minimum wage standards set by collective bargaining agreements. These include industries like construction, hospitality, and retail.
Q: How do salaries in Switzerland compare to the rest of Europe?
A: Salaries in Switzerland are generally higher than in most other European countries. This is often balanced by the country’s higher cost of living.
Q: Are wages in Switzerland taxed? If so, how?
A: Yes, wages in Switzerland are subject to both federal and cantonal taxes. The exact amount of tax paid can vary significantly based on income level, marital status, and canton of residence, among other factors.
Q: What is the standard working week in Switzerland, and how might this impact wage calculations?
A: The standard working week in Switzerland is 40 hours. Wages are typically calculated based on this working week, but actual hours can vary depending on the job and sector.
Q: How does the Swiss welfare system support those with low incomes?
A: The Swiss welfare system provides various forms of assistance to people who have insufficient income for their basic needs. This includes social insurance, social assistance, and supplementary benefits.
Q: How does the wage structure in Switzerland affect immigrants?
A: Immigrants in Switzerland, like citizens, have their wages typically determined by the market and their individual skills, qualifications, and experience. Some may face wage disparity due to a lack of language skills or unrecognized qualifications.
Q: How does living in different cantons of Switzerland affect one’s salary?
A: Different cantons in Switzerland have different costs of living and may have varying average salaries. High cost of living areas, like Zurich and Geneva, typically have higher average salaries compared to other cantons.
Q: Does Switzerland have any laws in place to prevent wage discrimination?
A: Yes, Switzerland has laws to prevent wage discrimination. The Federal Act on Gender Equality prohibits discrimination, including in relation to salary, based on gender. However, challenges in enforcing these laws persist.
Q: What is a ’13th salary’, and is it common in Switzerland?
A: A 13th salary is an extra month’s pay that some employers in Switzerland provide to their employees at the end of the year. This is not a legal requirement, but it is a common practice in many sectors.
Q: What are the pension contributions in Switzerland and how do they affect net salary?
A: In Switzerland, both employers and employees contribute to the pension scheme, known as the second pillar. These contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s salary, affecting the net salary.
Q: Are there specific laws regarding overtime pay in Switzerland?
A: Yes, Switzerland has laws regarding overtime. Typically, employees should be compensated for overtime work with either time off in lieu or additional pay. The specifics can vary depending on the job and the collective agreement in place.
Q: How does Switzerland’s high salary affect the nation’s economy?
A: The high salaries in Switzerland contribute to its strong economy, high standard of living, and strong consumer spending. However, they also contribute to the high cost of living in the country.
Q: Can an employee negotiate their salary in Switzerland?
A: Yes, employees in Switzerland have the right to negotiate their salaries. While some sectors have set minimum wages through collective agreements, many salaries are determined by individual agreements between the employer and employee.