Wages & living costs


Wages in Switzerland

Swiss employers are known for paying high wages. On the other hand, the cost of consumables, rent and insurance is very high. Furthermore, the wage paid very much depends on your education, professional experience, and field in which you work.

Wage calculators can help in comparing your wage with the average. Below are two popular wage calculators in Switzerland:

  • The wage calculator of the Schweizerischer Gewerbe Verband can be found here.
  • The wage calculator of the Federal Statistical Office can be found here

Living costs

Living costs are very high in Switzerland. Cities such as Zurich and Geneva are among the most expensive in the world. Alongside accommodation and food, premiums for compulsory health insurance are also very high.

Below you will find two budget examples. One for a family with two children. Another for a student. Further examples and tips and tricks for saving money can be found on the website of Schuldenberatung Schweiz.


Budget example for a family with two children and an average monthly income of 7,000 - 9,000. 

The two budget examples are based on figures, oriented around the examples of Schuldenberatung.ch, as well as experience.  

Fixed costs 

 per month

Accommodation (around 1/4 of income) 

1700 - 2500

Taxes

600 - 1100

Health insurance fund

900

Liability insurance

50

Telephone/internet/TV fees

150 - 200

Energy

80 - 90

Travel costs (public transport)

150

Other

50

 

 

Total fixed costs

3680 - 5040 

 

 

Household

 

Food

1200

Ancillary costs

250

Total household 

1450

 

 

Personal expenses 

 

Clothing

430 - 450

Hairdressing/leisure/mobile phone

380 - 450 

 

 

Total personal expenses 

810 - 1000

 

 

Other items 

 

Annual franchise/excess 

100

Dentist/optician 

60

Gifts 

80

Holiday 

150

Reserves 

150

 

 

Total other items 

540

 

 

Total expenses per month

6480 - 8030 

 

 

Budget example for a student at a Swiss university 

Study costs

 per month 

Student fees

100 - 250 

Learning materials

80 - 150 

 

 

Total study costs 

180 - 400 

 

 

Fixed costs 

 

Health insurance/accident insurance

330 - 360 

Travel costs 

10 - 110 

Taxes/contribution to old age and survivors’ insurance

40

 

 

Total fixed costs 

380 - 510 

 

 

Accommodation

 

Rent

300 - 600

Ancillary rental expenses

70 - 100 

Food/drinks, incl. university canteen

400 -  500

Ancillary household costs

20 - 40 

 

 

Total accommodation

790 - 1240 

 

 

Personal expenses

 

Pocket money/mobile phone

150 - 200 

Clothing

70 - 100 

Skin care and hairdressing

30 - 50 

 

 

Total personal expenses

250 - 350 

 

 

Other costs 

 

Annual franchise/excess

40

Dentist/optician/medication

20

 

 

Total other costs 

60

 

 

Total expenses per month

1660 - 2560 

 

 


Scholarships

Switzerland grants what are known as “excellence scholarships” to young foreign student PhD students and post-doctoral students, as well as artists. More information and a detailed description of the requirements profile for recipients of scholarships can be obtained from:  
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SBFI)
Ressort Internationale Stipendien
Effingerstrasse 27
CH-3003 Bern
Tel. +41 (0)31 323 26 76

Foreign students also have the option of applying directly to their university for scholarships. Information can generally be obtained from the university’s mobility office.