This week, Switzerland’s parliament voted in favour of raising the official retirement age for women.
In Switzerland, the retirement age for women has long been 64, one year less than the retirement age of 65 for men, according to RTS.
The parliamentary vote, of 124 versus 69 in favour, follows a vote in the upper house that also favoured the change. Opposition from politicians on the left was insufficient to prevent the recent parliamentary majority in favour of the change.
Key arguments in favour of raising the retirement age for women to align it with men include the challenges of funding Switzerland’s pay-as-you-go state pension system as the nation’s population ages and gender equality.
If no changes are made, the system will need an extra CHF 26 billion by 2030. Raising the retirement age for women is estimated to save CHF 10 billion and is expected to come into force in 2023 rising progressively from 2024 to 2027.
The move has been resisted by some who argue that more should be done to increase how much women earn before the retirement age is equalised.
Average earnings for women are lower than the average for men. However, the issue is complex. Detailed wage comparisons typically find little or no difference in what men and women are paid for the same job. Research by the head hunting firm Korn Ferry shows that gender pay disparities all but disappear in many developed nations if comparisons are made like for like, looking at individuals doing the same function in the same company. A detailed report that included Switzerland showed a there was a statistically insignificant (2%) gender pay difference on a like-for-like basis.
Instead, the average pay difference is driven mainly by the industries and job functions that women end up in and their rate of advancement into more senior roles. Changing these things requires complex solutions, such as encouraging women to enter higher-paying fields of science, technology and engineering, and finding ways to help women advance into more senior roles.