Swiss labour costs highest in Europe

The average hourly labour costs in Switzerland in 2012 amounted to CHF61.30 ($64.11) in the manufacturing and service sectors, according to figures released by the Federal Statistics Office. Almost 80% of costs were taken up by salary.

This content was published on October 2, 2014 - 17:32

Finance and insurance employees emerged as the most costly at CHF93.4 per hour. Next in line were employees in the information and communications sector, with labour costs of CHF76.75 per hour and the education sector at CHF71.20.

The sectors with the lowest labour costs were administration and secretarial, at CHF48.80 per hour,  with hotel and restaurant jobs bringing up the rear at CHF38.30 per hour.

A breakdown of the average labour costs reveals that wages and salaries account for  79.1%,  social contributions for 17.6%,  and training and recruitment for 3.3%. The hourly labour costs are a quarter lower for companies with 50 employees or more compared to those that employ fewer than ten staff.

Swiss labour costs are well above those of neighbouring countries and the highest in Europe. At €51.25 based on 2012 exchange rates, they were far higher than Austria (€29.75), Germany (€30.50) and France (€34.25).

Hourly labour costs in the fifteen longer-term members of the European Union range from €21.15 in Spain to €39.35 in Denmark. Labour costs are still below €10 in most of the new EU member states. 

The Federal Statistics OfficeExternal link has published figures on labour costs every two years since 2006. But it is not possible to compare the 2012 figures with those of earlier years, because the methodology was changed to conform with European norms, the office said. 

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know:

Comments under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Join the conversation!

With a SWI account, you have the opportunity to contribute on our website.

You can Login or register here.