Press Release

Swiss workers remain number one in European pay ranking

Willis Towers Watson Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report 2016

May 3, 2017
| Switzerland

ZURICH, 03 May 2017 – Both entry level professionals and middle managers in Switzerland are the highest paid when compared to the Top 15 European economies. In spite of taxes and high cost-of-living, the Swiss remain on top of the ranking with a gross base pay around 50% higher than the second-placed countries. These results have been revealed by the "Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report 2016" by Willis Towers Watson.

In its latest Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report, Willis Towers Watson found that the typical middle manager in Switzerland earns a gross base salary of CHF 164,097 a year while an entry level professional makes CHF 89,540. Switzerland is the country with the highest salaries within the Willis Towers Watson ranking. Employees enjoy a gross base pay around 50% higher than the second-placed countries: Luxembourg with the equivalent of CHF 110,388 in the case of middle management, and Denmark with the equivalent of CHF 59,569 for the entry level professionals (tables and figures at end of press release).

Smaller differences including costs of living

When those figures are adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), which takes taxes and cost of living into account, Switzerland's middle managers remain in the first place for relative buying power with an adjusted wage of CHF 97,207. Switzerland is followed by Luxembourg in second place and Germany in third place. Other countries, such as Ireland comes in 4th place and the United Kingdom comes in 5th.

Entry level professionals also enjoy the strongest comparative position, standing in the first place with CHF 58,666. The ranking also shows Denmark and Germany in the second and third place, respectively. Additionally, Belgium takes the 4th place, followed by Ireland.

In conclusion, despite wages being substantially adjusted downward when taxes and the cost-of-living are factored in, Swiss workers still have a higher buying power than all other Europeans.

The 2016 salary results Top 15 European economies*

Entry Level Professionals (Median Gross Base Salary)

Rank Country Salary (CHF)
1 Switzerland 89,540
2 Denmark 59,569
3 Norway 55,082
4 Germany 53,211
5 Luxembourg 50,098
6 Belgium 49,841
7 Austria 46,318
8 Sweden 44,749
9 Finland 44,725
10 Netherlands 43,515
11 France 40,946
12 Ireland 39,262
13 United Kingdom 35,249
14 Italy 34,556
15 Spain 31,656

Mid-Level Manager (Median Gross Base Salary)

Rank Country Salary (CHF)
1 Switzerland 164,097
2 Luxembourg 110,388
3 Denmark 110,076
4 Germany 108,568
5 Belgium 103,048
6 Norway 100,238
7 Austria 97,140
8 Netherlands 95,971
9 United Kingdom 95,468
10 Ireland 94,406
11 France 88,130
12 Sweden 85,667
13 Finland 80,543
14 Italy 78,484
15 Spain 78,268

Entry Level Professionals (Median Relative Buying Power)

Rank Country Salary (CHF)
1 Switzerland 58,666
2 Denmark 52,778
3 Germany 45,758
4 Belgium 40,879
5 Ireland 40,595
6 Austria 39,136
7 Netherlands 38,061
8 United Kingdom 37,410
9 Denmark 36,508
10 Norway 35,550
11 France 35,092
12 Sweden 33,424
13 Spain 31,278
14 Finland 30,177
15 Italy 26,654

Mid-Level Manager (Median Relative Buying Power)

Rank Country Salary (CHF)
1 Switzerland 97,207
2 Luxembourg 91,357
3 Germany 81,496
4 Ireland 71,105
5 United Kingdom 70,136
6 France 68,825
7 Austria 68,414
8 Spain 65,751
9 Netherlands 64,182
10 Belgium 63,301
11 Denmark 57,061
12 Norway 56,901
13 Sweden 52,038
14 Czech Republic 50,838
15 Slovenia 49,796
* The report is published in USD. Therefore the table's figures are converted into CHF (based on a 180-day average rate USD-CHF from OANDA).

Background information on the study

The Willis Towers Watson Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report is designed for multinationals that need reliable and consistent compensation, benefit and economic information. It contains the latest pay information for 50 positions across 60 countries globally. The 2016 report is available to purchase in full.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas – the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. In Switzerland Willis Towers Watson is based with offices in Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne.