Salaries in Switzerland

To keep the discussion about salaries in Switzerland, if anyone is interested. Based on the data from BFS, we can come up with some gross numbers. As the numbers are net, for simplicity lets assume that 88% gross = net (the older, the higher the deductions for 2nd pillar). We should also ignore part time salaries and focus on full time salaries (>=90%). So gross:

50% earn up to 82’000 (median salary in CH)
65% earn up to 95’000
75% earn up to 110’000
85% earn up to 135’000
90% earn up to 150’000
95% earn up to 205’000
98% earn up to 275’000


Can’t you just extrapolate? My employer even writes “60% based on a full salary of xxx”. Always hurts a little to see what my salary would be at 100%.

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It only hurts before taxes. If you could see it after taxes…

It still hurts but after tax it’s as if I was earning almost 68% while working 60% (if I calculated correctly - it’s the first year).

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Would be interesting to understand whether these are for standard employees or also for company owners. I have the feeling that most 1% are in the latter category.


Is this for individual income or household income?

I always assume this data is a bit deceiving and there are more high earners than these metrics show for reasons like:

  • Tax evasion (all those businesses that take tons of cash and then claim they only earn chf50k)
  • Working as a contractor/self-employed/business owner when you start earning a decent rate and being paid as a company so having lower taxable individual income
  • The very wealthy living off capital gains
  • The retired living off of capital gains and limiting pensions/annuities to stay at lower tax rates
  • The many who choose to work part time (shouldn’t compare them to 100% workers imo)
  • If this is net data then high earners paying back 2p gaps pre-retirement can be disgusting savings on net
  • Rural earners included - maybe personal to me but my frame of reference is workers in a Geneva/Zurich so comparing to someone living in a 500k house in Jura is going to add a skew
  • UN/NGO workers in Geneva who don’t pay tax and won’t report income

Also net->gross should scale with income? e.g. at 242k->275k at 88% is more like 60% in Geneva or maybe 65% across Switzerland = 372k for 98th percentile.

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It has been reported a couple of times that 350k gross (all-in for an individual) is the 1% threshold in Switzerland, although I don’t find a good source on the spot (and there can’t be, Switzerland doesn’t publish that data). With 5.25 million workers, there are therefore at least 50’000 people earning that much.

Assuming 88% net of gross pay is definitly wrong, as this skewes much lower with age and at higher incomes (higher share of 2nd pillar to avoid income taxes), probably for the 1% close to 80% (at least that is what efficient setups allow).

I also don’t believe that company owners dilute this data that much. True (100%) owners pay themselves only as much as needed in salary for tax and social security efficiency reasons.


An interesting table: Répartition des salariés en pour-cent (salaire mensuel net), pour les temps pleins et temps partiels selon les classes de salaires - Secteur privé et secteur public ensemble - Suisse [T1_netto] - 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020 | Tableau | Office fédéral de la statistique

These stats are based on a survey, other statistics are based on taxes data.

As mentioned by @hippo, I also believe that high-income individuals are a bit underrepresented in these data, but I don’t believe it would change the stats that much a massive impact, but are still speaking to a relative small number of people