As expats, we’re often moving from one country to another. Between changes in environment to fluctuations in living costs and a new job market, it can be quite overwhelming to predict what to expect.
Will I be financially secure? What’s the pay scale for my area of work like? Is the gender pay gap prevalent there?
You get it! Basically, a lot of questions pop up in our minds. Fortunately, Switzerland is an economically attractive host country and expat salaries are fully in line with this trend. In this article, let’s have a look as we share a salary guide for expats in Switzerland.
Is there a minimum wage in Switzerland?
There is no national minimum wage in Switzerland. Although, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) does provide an online national wage calculator to give an idea of typical salary ranges in Switzerland for different sectors. It then tells you a tentative wage based on your individual profile (age, years of experience, training and education, position in the company, profession, etc.).
When it comes to certain cantons, they do have minimum wage of their own. Some collective agreements and companies also have one for a specific industry or company.
Checkout the some of the Cantonal minimum wages here:
- Canton of Neuchâtel: minimum wage of CHF 20.08 an hour
- Canton of Jura: CHF 20 an hour
- Canton of Ticino: CHF 19 an hour
- Canton of Geneva: CHF 23 an hour
What’s the average salary in Switzerland?
In 2020, the OECD reported that the average annual salary in Switzerland was around CHF 60,600. It is believed that expats arriving in Switzerland increase their income by more than 50%, which sounds good but we also have to consider the expensive cost of living here. The reality can be significantly different from one expat to another. Depending on the canton, sector of activity, size of the company, or even the skills required, the differences can be huge.
Another thing to note here is that salary is not the only thing to consider when getting a job in Switzerland. There are many other workplace benefits you should factor in.
Did you know?
All Swiss employees can take at least four weeks of holiday per year. Other absences from work (e.g., accident, illness, or bereavement) are up to employers’ discretion. Many employers take out insurance to pay their employees 80% of their wages during prolonged absences. Employers pay for at least half of the amount of the premiums. All employed mothers (full and part-time) receive 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. As of 1 January 2021, employed fathers can also receive paternity leave.
Average salary in Switzerland by profession
Generally, your area of work and seniority define your pay in Switzerland. It is important when looking for a job to have a figure in mind as most employers will ask your salary expectations. Therefore, it is always valuable to check what your type of work is worth in Switzerland.
These gross salary estimates (the above does not include taxes) from Lohncomputer are based on full-time contracts. However, remember that these average salaries will vary depending on your location. Typically, you’ll earn more in larger cities like Zurich and Basel than you would in more rural areas.
Gender pay gap in Switzerland
The gender pay gap is particularly wide in Switzerland compared to other western European countries. Under the Swiss Constitution and the Gender Equality Act, men and women should receive equal pay for the same work. If you are aware of a case of wage discrimination, you will find useful information and contacts on the Federal Office for Gender Equality website.
Salaries for Expats in Switzerland. What’s the scene like?
Switzerland has experienced a massive increase in immigration in the last two decades. However, that doesn’t mean finding a job as a foreigner is easy even if you’ve secured a Swiss work visa or permit.
If you are searching for a well-paid job in Switzerland, you might want to look to the main driver of the Swiss economy – the services sector. The country also has one of the highest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies in the world.
- Swiss government website on employment
- Federal Office for Gender Equality
- Federal work and income statistics
I hope you found this article helpful and it helps you navigate your journey as an expat. I have tried to share some facts along with my personal experience of navigating the corporate world as an expat.
Stay tuned to more such expat living articles in our Expat living section.