High salaries aren’t what they seem in Switzerland

Survey: one in ten Swiss jobs is ‘low paid’

Hairdressers are among the lowest paid workers in Switzerland, according to OFS © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Around 320,000 jobs in Switzerland are considered low paid, earning a gross monthly salary of under CHF4,335 ($4,400), according to the most recent nationwide statistics. 

This content was published on July 16, 2019 - 09:25

In 2016, 12% of Swiss workers earned such a low monthly salary, the Federal Statistical Office (OFS) reported on MondayExternal link

The OFS uses the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measure, which calculates that a low salary is less than 75% of the median gross national wage for a 40-hour week job. 

The OFS said 17% of female workers in Switzerland had a low paid job in 2016, compared to 7.6% of men. 

+ How far does CHF6,000 really get you in Switzerland?

The main low-paid sectors were personal services – which includes hairdressing and cleaning firms – the retail sector, the food and restaurant industry, and hotels and accommodation.

Canton Ticino had the highest percentage of low salary earners (24.7% of the total) – almost double the national average. In north-west Switzerland this percentage fell to 7.8%, while it was 12% in eastern Switzerland. 

Half of all low paid jobs (53.8%) were done by foreign residents. And almost 50% of poorly paid work (46.4%) was offered by companies with fewer than 50 staff.

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