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Payroll 2021: This is how much apprentices earn in Switzerland


An apprentice baker earns a lot more than a goldsmith. And what about the hairdressing apprenticeship? The current payroll provides information.

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  • The wages differ from apprenticeship to apprenticeship.

  • There are also big differences in the wage leaps between the years of apprenticeship.

  • The latest payroll shows how much apprentices earn.

The importance of money increased in the Corona crisis: Young Swiss people in particular want to earn well. This makes the wages for apprentices all the more important. How much money can be earned in which apprenticeship is shown in the Swiss wage book of the People's Directorate of the Canton of Zurich.

The tome, which is several hundred pages long, provides information about minimum wages or local wages for thousands of professions in Switzerland. The wage book also lists the recommended wages for apprentices throughout Switzerland in the individual years of apprenticeship.

The wages are very different in the industry comparison. For example, a young person who has the Swiss Federal Certificate of Proficiency (EFZ) earns relatively little as a goldsmith with 450 francs per month in the first year of his apprenticeship. An apprentice chef receives CHF 1,020 at the same level.

The leap in wages is greater in the painting business than in the bakery

There are also big differences in the leaps in wages between the years of apprenticeship. A painter in the first year of their apprenticeship earns between 500 and 650 francs a month. In the third and final year of the apprenticeship, there is more than twice as much at 1200 to 1600 francs.

As a baker, on the other hand, there are only small increases in wages: While there is an average of 800 francs in the first year of apprenticeship, in the third year of apprenticeship there are only 300 francs more at 1,100.

You can find out how much the apprentices earn in the picture gallery above.

As it says in the payroll, however, wages could rise in the future. The reason is the apprenticeship crisis caused by the pandemic. Stefan Wolter, education economist at the Swiss Coordination Office for Educational Research, estimates that there will be up to 20 percent fewer apprenticeships by 2025. In addition, youth unemployment is likely to increase.

All of this is likely to lead to “a shortage of qualified workers in the foreseeable future”. In turn, employees could benefit from this in terms of wages. "Above all, well-trained workers could find themselves in a better negotiating position," the payroll continues.

Prepare for wage negotiations

But if you are not satisfied with your salary after your apprenticeship as a career starter, you can improve your salary by negotiating, for example. However, that requires preparation. "You should know what wages are paid in the job," says Michael Kraft, Head of Education at the Swiss Commercial Association, on request.

Further training can also increase wages. But what should you watch out for? “The important thing is to pursue your interests and choose something that you can apply in practice,” says Kraft. You can often find out in which direction you want to go during your apprenticeship. But you shouldn't just get further education because of the wages. "You wouldn't be happy with that."

Why are there such large wage differentials?That has to do with supply and demand: An apprenticeship as a chef is more difficult to fill than an apprenticeship as a car mechanic. It also depends on how quickly an apprentice can be deployed and how high his share of the added value is. Working hours and general conditions, such as working outdoors, also play a role.

Are better paid teaching more demanding?Absolutely not. There are also very demanding jobs that are less well paid.

Do you still earn more after a well-paid apprenticeship?That is the case in the first few years. But that becomes relative over time. The salary then depends on how much responsibility you take on or what further training you have done. So you can make a lot of money anywhere if you want.

How important is the salary when looking for an apprenticeship?The wages shouldn't be the main focus. It is more important that the teaching is fun, that you are integrated in the team and that you see meaning in your work. That way you are more committed and motivated. With the career and the salary, it then goes on automatically.

* Urs Casty is the founder and head of the apprenticeship platform

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