Want to earn big? Move to Switzerland


Swiss workers get paid more than any other employees in the world, as the cost of living in major cities in the country has seen a dramatic increase following the Swiss central bank's drastic currency intervention this year.

Employees in Zurich and Geneva, cities both known as global banking hubs, receive gross salaries that are on average 19 times those of workers in Nairobi, Jakarta and Kiev, which receive the lowest gross pay packets globally, according to data from UBS.

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While Swiss wages are the highest in the world, this matches the pricey cost of living in the country. The cost of goods and services is more expensive in Zurich, Geneva and New York than anywhere else in the world. When rent is taken into account, New York is almost the most pricey.

After the Swiss cities, wages in Luxembourg, New York City, Miami, Copenhagen and Sydney were top-ranked in the UBS report of prices, wages and earners' purchasing power in 71 cities worldwide, published Thursday.

For workers looking for a better work-life balance, Paris is probably your best bet with staff in the capital working around 1,600 hours annually on average, whilst benefiting from some 29 days of paid vacation. Individuals work over 2,000 hours per year in 19 major cities, most of them in Asia and the Middle East.

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Workers in Hong Kong work 1,000 more hours than those in Paris, a difference of around four hours per workday.

France economy minister Emmanuel Macron has been pushing for measures that give firms more flexibility to increase working hours, as the current working week in France is just 35 hours long, after a law was passed in 2000.

Former investment banker Macron said reforming the law was key to helping a recovery in the French economy, the second biggest in the euro area after Germany.

Exchange rates have had a massive impact on the cost of living, with the most notable change coming after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) dropped the currency peg that kept the euro trading at 1.20 Swiss francs ($1.23).

"The impact of this (SNB) decision was still being reflected in exchange rates a few months later, when we were collecting data. The Swiss franc appreciated 5 percent against the U.S. dollar between the beginning of the year and April. This greatly affected our indicators, as Zurich and Geneva both rose to the top in price and wage levels," chief economist at UBS wealth management, Andreas Hofert who helped author the bank's report on prices and earnings around the world.

Similarly, the weakening of the euro, which lost almost one quarter of its value against the U.S. dollar from mid-2014 until the end of the first quarter of 2015 causing euro zone cities to plunge in price and wage level rankings.