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Women still earn 20 percent less than men

The difference in salaries for men and women working in Switzerland has been steadily decreasing in the past years, but women still earn about 20 percent less than men, the authorities said on Tuesday.

This content was published on December 21, 1999 - 15:00

The difference in salaries for men and women working in Switzerland has been steadily decreasing in the past years, but women still earn about 20 percent less than men, the authorities said on Tuesday.

New data released by the Federal Statistics Office show that the average monthly salary for men was SFr5,466 ($3,459) and SFr4,291($2,716) for women last year. The salaries were adjusted for a 40-hour work week.

The wage difference narrowed by 1.5 percent between 1996 and 1998 and now stands at 21.5 percent in the private sector. The wage gap in government and administration jobs is 11 percent.

The salary discrimination is most noticeable in high-skills and high-salary jobs, where the discrepancy can reach as much as SFr2,400 ($1,519). Women may find some compensation in the fact that salaries in those sectors have gone up in the past two years.

At the bottom of the skills ladder, the opposite is true: Men and women often get the same salaries in hotels, retail, catering and other service sectors. But the already low wage level has further fallen in the past two years. In this sector, women far outweigh the men in numbers.

Monthly salaries adjusted for 40-hour week in brief:

Average salary: $3,225

Men $3,459
Women $2,716


Private industry: $3,190

Men $3,428
Women $2,692


Administration:$3,767

Men $3,835
Women $3,486


From staff and wire reports.

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