Pay (In)Equality

The principle is simple: Women and men receive the same pay for the same work. Salary differences that cannot be explained by objective factors such as education, requirements level, professional position, employment level, number of years served, or size of the organization amount to pay discrimination. 

Nevertheless, there is pay inequality in Switzerland, which affects not only monthly finances, but also pension provision.

More information on explainable and unexplainable/discriminatory causes of these wage differences and calculation examples can be found on the website of the cantonal Office for the Equality of Men and Women (information available in German only).

Pay Discrimination at Entry Level

The difference in pay starts on the first day of the job. Even with identical qualifications and education levels, young women enter professional life on lower pay scales than their male peers.

Thereafter, male salaries also rise more quickly and the pay gap opens up even further during the initial years. An analysis of salaries based on education levels shows that the pay gap among university graduates is the highest.

Paradoxically, the pay gap in well-mixed professions with an even gender balance is particularly high. On top of this, women earn less not only in professions that are typical for men but also in those typical for women, while men earn even more than women in women’s professions.

Women wanting to combat pay discrimination are advised to not only prepare thoroughly for pay negotiations and assessment talks, but also to carefully consider their choice of employer. Even at the stage of choosing a degree program, it helps to base your choice on the labor market and its need for trained professionals.

Equal Pay is Enforceable

You can get tips and advice on pay discrimination, applications, assessment talks, career development, and much more from the staff at the Office for the Equality of Men and Women of the Canton of Zurich. In addition, the Gender Equality Act enables individuals, professional bodies, and trade unions to take legal action against gender-based pay discrimination and to demand salary adjustments and back payments. Cases already negotiated are stored in an online database for others to view.

Decisions based on the Gender Equality Act (in German)