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What do cleaners earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

Cleaners in Switzerland earn an average of 31 francs per hour. But as with everything in Switzerland, what you get paid will depend largely on the canton.

Two 'caution wet floor' signs in the shape of banana peels.
Cleaners are well paid in Switzerland, but the amount they get per hour varies from canton to canton. Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash

On a comparative basis, cleaners tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale. 

It’s the same case in Switzerland, although when compared to neighbouring countries, cleaning wages are relatively high. 

Across the country, cleaners in Switzerland earn an average of 31 francs per hour. 

READ MORE: What do teachers earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

But as a recent study put together by Swiss domestic worker agency Quitt, the amount you can earn will vary considerably from canton to canton. 

How do wages work in Switzerland? 

As The Local Switzerland has reported previously, Switzerland does not have a minimum wage at a federal level, although some cantons have put in place their own minimums. 

Basel City, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Geneva, and the Italian-speaking Ticino have put in place minimum wage standards. 

EXPLAINED: Which Swiss cantons have a minimum wage?

That said, workers in all industries have a relatively high minimum wage, due to unions and collective agreements. 

The value of these collective agreements can be seen by the fact that in all Swiss cantons, including those with a minimum wage, cleaners earn more than the statutory minimum. 

How much do cleaners earn in each Swiss canton? 

Cleaners in several cantons earn more than the 31 franc average, with most of these higher-paying cantons being in the German-speaking part of the country. 

Cleaners in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland earn less. 

Cleaners in Schwyz earn 32.15 per hour. Cleaners in Nidwalden earn CHF32 and 31.85 in Zurich. 

At the other end of the spectrum, cleaners in Neuchâtel earn 25.50 francs per hour. While this is much lower than their Swiss counterparts, it is still far higher than the statutory minimum of 20.08. 

Cleaners in Geneva (CHF26.80), Ticino (27.10) and Vaud (27.80) are also among the lowest paid. 

Why the variance? 

There are a number of factors underpinning why cleaners’ earnings vary from canton to canton. 

In some cantons, such as Graubünden, cleaners earn 31.70CHF, which is largely due to the high demand in the canton due to the number of holiday apartments. 

Cantons with higher income levels and lower tax also tend to pay cleaners better, Quitt spokesman Bernhard Bircher-Suits told Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes. 

“Wages are highest in high-income and low-tax cantons,” he said. 

The reason for the lower wages in French and Italian-speaking parts of the country is at least in part due to a greater number of cross-border workers, Bircher-Suits said, as well as a higher percentage of people working cash in hand jobs. 

A 2019 report by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) confirmed that cash work was more common in Latin Switzerland.

The study took into account more than 5,500 employment contracts of people in the cleaning business all across Switzerland and was published on October 30th, 2021. 

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For members

ZURICH

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

The Covid pandemic hit Switzerland hard, although the country's largest city has rebounded strongly.

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

Measures imposed due to the Covid pandemic, which began in earnest in February 2020, shuttered businesses across the country and pushed many people out of work. 

When most notable Covid rules were relaxed in Switzerland in mid-February 2022, the economic recovery – highlighted by a strong job market – began in earnest in 2021. 

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Nowhere was this more evident than Zurich, Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful city. 

How did Zurich rebound from the Covid pandemic in comparison to the rest of the country?

Even though Zurich, along with other large Swiss cities like Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne, have been hit hard by the pandemic from the employment perspective, Zurich’s labour market is now growing faster than in other urban centres.

One of the reasons for this upward trend is that young, well-educated foreigners are coming back.

In the first nine months of 2021, the city’s population grew significantly.

In September alone, it recorded 2,200 additional residents.

This is mainly due to people with a B residence permit, according to Klemens Rosin, methodologist at Zurich’s Statistics Office.

During the crisis, far fewer of them left the city. “This group is made up of well-educated, younger and mobile foreigners who have made a significant contribution to Zurich’s growth”, Rosin said.

Zurich’s employment market is expect to grow even further.

READ MORE: How hard is finding work in Zurich without speaking German?

That’s because in the coming years, many Zurich workers will retire — an estimated  210,000 by year 2050 — creating more job opportunities for younger employees.

In fact, according to a study commissioned by the canton in 2021, if Zurich’s economy is to continue to flourish, it will need around 1.37 million workers by mid-century.

If these vacancies will not be filled, then income, tax revenue and the financing of social security programs will be impacted.

READ MORE: Have your say: What’s the best way to find a job in Zurich

While it is difficult to predict what jobs will be most in demand in 2050 — what new technologies will emerge in the meantime — right now and in medium term, IT workers will be especially needed, experts say, because businesses will continue to to digitalise and automate.

Lower skilled jobs will also be in higher demand, including hospitality, retail and transport. 

With hundreds of thousands of vacancies to fill, people with the permission to work in Switzerland are likely to be flush with offers – particularly skilled workers with recognised qualifications. 

READ MORE: Why finding a job in Switzerland is set to become easier 

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