High salaries not matched by purchasing power

High salaries and a high cost of living go hand in hand in Switzerland

An online salary survey has revealed that Swiss professionals earn more than their neighbours, with an average yearly income of SFr65,000 ($50,000).

This content was published on December 19, 2005

However, when purchasing power was taken into account, the Germans emerged as the real winners among the six countries surveyed.

The poll, published on Monday by internet job portals, and, found that Swiss employees earned around 20 per cent more than their German neighbours.

But it noted that the cost of living is 28 per cent higher in Switzerland than in Germany, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures.

The other countries covered in the survey were the United Kingdom, Austria, Italy and France. The average annual salaries among these four ranged from SFr53,000 to SFr32,000.

Commenting on the results, Werner Aeberhardt from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) told swissinfo that Switzerland was trying to bring down price levels in agriculture, public services and the health sector with long-term measures.

He nevertheless welcomed the study, saying it was positive to have different sources of economic data.

"It's a good thing for a country to have high salaries, but only in the case of full employment," he added.


Direct comparisons between Switzerland and its neighbours are difficult, not only because of differences in purchasing power, but also because the Swiss work longer hours and have fewer holidays, said the job portals in a statement.

Within Switzerland, the survey found that the highest paying sectors were consulting, IT and telecommunications, and the scientific professions.

The aim was to find a broadly representative average salary. Therefore only participants in non-managerial positions were chosen.

Consultants received on average a gross annual salary of SFr91,000. IT and telecommunications professionals were next in line with SFr86,000, closely followed by the scientific professions at SFr85,000.

Those working in marketing, PR and human resources took home an annual salary of SFr80,000. Medical workers are significantly further down the scale at SFr65,390.


Key facts

Gross average salary in Switzerland: SFr65,000
Germany : SFr54,000
United Kingdom: SFr53,000
Austria: SFr43,000
Italy: SFr35,000
France: SFr32,000
An OECD survey of Purchasing Power Parities in 2002 showed that Switzerland had the highest cost of living.
Comparative price levels: Switzerland 128, United Kingdom 101, Germany 100, Austria 95, France 94, Italy 86.

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In brief

Created in 2000, the Monster/jobpilot salary test recorded 80,843 participants in 2004 and 97,182 up to mid-October 2005.

The anonymous test includes 20 questions connected to salary (sector, training, position, activity, company size, bonus).

The University of Applied Sciences of Solothurn Northwestern Switzerland evaluates the Swiss data and compares it to the European findings.

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