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Salaries How much do Swiss people earn in 2018?

Feuille de salaire

On salary slips, the percentage of wages deducted for social security contributions is the only thing that is the same for everyone 


Who are the biggest wage winners and losers in recent years? Statistics published by canton Zurich detail local salaries paid for a range of professions: from taxi driver to diplomat. 

Getting a good overview of how much people earn can be complex. Like anywhere in the world, salaries in Switzerland vary depending on factors like education, sex, experience and location.  

The annual 768-page Lohnbuch external link(wage book), published by canton Zurich’s Office for Economy and Labourexternal link, compiles extensive salary data such as minimum suggested wages plus typical salary ranges based on age and experience. It also provides a representative guide for the country.

1. Diplomat

Car with Swiss flag

According to the Lohnbuch, the head of a diplomatic mission is one of the best paid professions: CHF13,555 ($14,071) a month.


2. Army training officer

Soldiers taking a course

Army training officers have seen one of the biggest rises in their salaries since 2006 (+22%) to CHF8,192 a month.


3. Primary school teacher

Primary school lesson

Primary school teachers have seen the biggest increase since 2006 (+36%) – average salary of CHF6,981 a month. But big differences exist between cantons.


4. Journalist

Journalist with microphone and camera

Journalists earn on average CHF6,440 a month after three years’ experience. But this is just a recommendation for the profession.


5. Midwife

Baby in midwife's arms

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the median salary in Switzerland is CHF6,189 a month. A midwife earns just over this figure: CHF6,229.


6. Bricklayer

Bricklayer building a wall

Construction workers are often considered to be badly paid. But it’s not always true: a trained bricklayer with over four years’ experience earns CHF5,553 a month.


7. Nursery school teacher

Nursery school teacher playing with children.

Nursery school teachers have also seen big increases in their salaries since 2006 (+33%). The average monthly salary in Zurich is CHF4,977.


8. Carpenter

Two pieces of wood.

Carpenters are one of the few professions to have seen a reduction in their salaries since 2006 (-5%). The average monthly salary of a trained carpenter is CHF4,435.


9. Librarian

Piles of books in a library

Leftwing politicians and unions regularly call for a minimum salary of CHF4,000 a month for everyone. This corresponds to the salary of an entry-level librarian.


10. Taxi driver

Line of taxis

Taxi drivers have witnessed the biggest fall in wages since 2006 (-15%) to CHF3,200 a month.


While Swiss salaries might appear high to people abroad, it’s important to remember that Switzerland also has a very high cost of living. For example, people spend about a third of their income on rent alone.

Translated from French by Simon Bradley


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