A recent report by Lausanne-based business school IMD, ranks Swiss primary school teachers as the highest paid in a ranking of 60 countries.
On average a Swiss state primary school teacher, after teaching for around 10 years, earns US$ 100,0001 p.a. In the US they are paid US$ 67,0001, and in the UK they get US$ 38,0001.
In Switzerland, primary school teacher pay is closer to some better paid positions than it is in the US or the UK. In Switzerland a graduate product manager, working in middle management for at least 5 years in the pharmaceuticals, chemicals or food industry earns 19% more than a primary school teacher. In the US the same pay gap is 38%. In the UK it is 64%. In the UK, managing products pays 2.8 times more than managing pupils.
What Swiss teachers get paid varies enormously by canton. Looking at French-speaking Switzerland, primary school teachers in Geneva receive the most: a maximum of CHF 131,000 p.a.2 (US$ 129,000). In the lowest paid canton, Neuchâtel, the same teacher earns up to CHF 91,000 p.a.2 (US$ 90,000). That’s 31% less. In Vaud the comparable salary is CHF 108,000 p.a. (US$ 106,000).
A 2016 OECD study, which uses 2014 pay adjusted for purchasing power, places maximum Swiss primary school teacher pay of US$ 81,0003, in second place after Luxembourg. Adjusting for purchasing power takes account of Switzerland’s strong currency and high prices.
1 State primary school teacher pay after teaching for around 10 years: Switzerland US$ 99,869, US US$ 67,028, UK, US$ 38,197. Source: IMD World Talent Report 2016 – opens PDF (in English)
2 Geneva maximum salary per month for 13 months of CHF 10,090 for a teacher of the primary cycle. Neuchâtel maximum per month of CHF 7.009 for a teacher of the primary cycle. Source: RTS 9 November 2015 (in French)
3 Page 420, Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators – opens PDF (in English)