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Slow progress Wage discrepancies continue between sexes

It's still a man's world when it comes to income in Switzerland


Women in Switzerland are still being discriminated against when it comes to salaries, even if the wage gap narrowed slightly between 2008 and 2010, according to figures released by the Federal Statistics Office.

In the private sector, women earned an average of 23.6 per cent less than men in 2010, compared with 25 per cent less in 2008.The totals for part-time positions were adjusted to be comparable with full-time positions.

In part, the differences in monthly income in the private sector were attributed to structural factors, including levels of education, years of service, and management level. The more responsibility the position had, the greater the difference between the salaries of men and women, the office said on Friday.

There was also great variation in men’s and women’s salaries depending on the type of industry. In the hospitality business men earned 8.2 per cent more, in the chemical sector 13.3 per cent, in retail 20.9 per cent, in textiles 31.8 per cent, and in finance and insurances 38.8 per cent.

In the public sector overall, the average difference in salaries between men and women was 16.5 per cent in 2008, dropping to 14.7 per cent in 2010.

In 2010 women held two out of three jobs earning less than SFr3,500 ($3,825) a month, but only 13.4 per cent of positions earning more than SFr16,000 per month. Generally speaking, nearly eight of ten positions earning more than SFr8,000 per month are held by men.


Differences in salary that are not based on structural factors are attributed to discrimination. In the private sector, the average difference in salary attributed to discrimination was SFr745 per month in 2008, but this dropped to SFr677 in 2010.

In the public sector, however, there was a minor increase in the difference, with women earning SFr254 per month less than men in 2008 and SFr 259 per month less in 2010.

Again, there were major differences according to industry. Whereas women working in the healthcare sector earned SFr388 per month less than men performing the same job, the difference in the finance and insurance sector amounted to an average SFr1,397 per month.


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