Swiss wage index

Wage growth in 2021

Decrease of 0.2% in nominal wages in 2021 and of 0.8% in real wages

The Swiss nominal wage index fell by 0.2% on average in 2021 compared with 2020. It settled at 99.8 points (base 2020 = 100). Given an average annual inflation rate of +0.6%, real wages fell by 0.8% (99.2 points, base 2020 = 100) according to calculations by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

In 2021, nominal wages fell by an average of 0.2% compared with 2020 (+0.8% in 2020, +0.9% in 2019 and +0.5% in 2018 and +0.4% in 2017). For the main collective labour agreements (CLA) covering almost half a million employees, the increase in real (nominal) wages negotiated at collective level for 2021 was +0.4%.

The rise in prices of petroleum products and rents resulted in inflation of +0.6% at the end of 2021. The purchasing power of wages, resulting from the adjustment of nominal wages to inflation, therefore decreased (-0.8%) after having increased in recent years (+1.5% in 2020 and +0.5% in 2019).

Nominal and real wage growth in 2021
    Nominal wages in %
Real wages in %
Total economy -0,2 -0,8
Inflation 0.6%    
Sector 2 -0,5 -1,1
Sector 3 -0,1 -0,7
Men -0,6 -1,2
Women 0.2
-0,4

Real wages decrease by 0.8%

The purchasing power of wages has fallen for the fifteenth time since the Swiss wage index was created in 1942. In 2021, inflation at +0.6%, combined with the decrease in nominal wages by 0.2%, led to a reduction in real wages of 0.8% (-1.1% for the secondary sector and -0.7% for the tertiary sector). Real wage development varied widely in 2021 and ranged from -3.9% to + 1.5%, highlighting the diversity of wage dynamics that characterise each economic activity. Considering inflation and nominal wage developments, only three branches showed positive real wage growth in 2021 (public administration +1.5%, other manufacturing including repair and installation +1.5% and publishing, audio-visual, broadcasting and telecommunications +0.1%).

Further information

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Statistical sources and concepts

On this topic

Quarterly estimate

Wage growth in Switzerland. Quarterly estimates of wage growth for all employees.

Historical series

Wage growth in Switzerland since 1942. Indices and real and nominal change by sex for all employees.

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Federal Statistical Office Section Wages and Working Conditions
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel
Switzerland

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