Growing gap in private sector wages

Workers who commute across the border are among the highest paid foreigners in Switzerland Keystone

The highest wages paid in the Swiss private sector increased 50% more than the lowest wages between 2002 and 2012, according to figures released Monday by the Federal Statistical Office.

This content was published on April 28, 2014 minutes

The worst paid 10% of workers earned less than CHF3,886 ($4,412) gross per month of full-time work in 2012, an increase of 9.5% over the 10-year period. In comparison, the highest-paid workers earned an average of CHF11,512 per month, an increase of 22.5% over 1992.

Wages in the private sector varied greatly by branch, with bankers earning an average of CHF9,823 per month, whereas workers in gastronomy, for example, earned CHF4,272 per month.

In 2012 there were around 268,000 low-wage full-time equivalent positions  (i.e., positions paid at most two thirds of the mean income) in the private sector. Of 339,000 people holding these positions, almost 67% were women.

Women aged 40 to 49 with a high level of responsibility earned on average 25% less than men with the same profile. And women without management responsibilities earned an average of 12% less than men with the same profiles.

With an average monthly wage of CHF6,369, Swiss citizens earned more than foreigners, regardless of the foreigners’ residence status. Foreigners with short-term residence permits earned an average of CHF4,672 monthly; foreigners with limited (B) residence permits earned an average of CHF 5,552 per month; foreigners with unlimited residence permits (C) earned CHF5,671 per month; and cross-border workers earned an average of CHF5,896 per month.

The wage structure survey is conducted once every two years. For 2012 information was collected from almost 35,000 private sector companies with a total of 1.5 million employees.

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