The gender pension gap represents the percentage difference in average pensions between women and men in the permanent resident population aged 65 and over.
In 2021, the average pension of women in Switzerland was CHF 35 442; that of men CHF 52 735.
The average annual total pension of women in 2021 was thus CHF 17 293 lower than that of men, which corresponds to a gender pension gap of 32.8%. Over the last few years, this value has hardly changed.
Differences between the 1st pillar (OASI) and 2nd pillar (PP - Occupational pension plans)
The levels of OASI pensions hardly differ between the genders. In fact, the average annual pension of women is even slightly higher (3.7%) than that of men, partly because of the large proportion of widowed women who on average receive a higher pension. In contrast, the differences in occupational pension plans are large: women receive these second pillar pensions significantly less often than men (49.4% vs. 69.8%), and when they do, they are on average around 46% lower than those of men.
The reasons for the differences between women and men are closely related to their employment histories and to models of family structure. For example, women interrupt their employment more often and work more part-time, primarily for family reasons. This also affects the amounts saved in the 2nd pillar.
The gender pension gap varies according to marital status
The gender pension gap is most pronounced among married pension recipients (46.9%), although this should be seen in the light of the fact that married couples generally form an economic unit and pool their household incomes. The gender pension gap is smaller among widowed (33.1%) and divorced (17.5%) pension recipients. No statistically significant gender pension differences can be found among single pension recipients.
Lump-sum benefits from the occupational pension plan (2nd pillar) and pillar 3a
Lump-sum payments from old-age pension funds are capital transfers and not income. Therefore, they are not taken into account in the calculation of the gender pension gap. The FSO publishes various information on lump-sum benefits by gender and marital status on the website: New pensions statistics (NRS).
In a Europe-wide comparison, Switzerland has a relatively high gender pension gap and was above the European average of 27.6% in 2020.
Measuring the Gender Overall Earnings Gap and other indicators of gender income equality - report of the Federal Council in fulfilment of postulate 19.4132 Marti Samira on 25 September 2019 | Publication | Swiss Federal Statistical Office (admin.ch)