professor salaries

professor salaries

Swiss professors have the highest salaries in Europe, the average wage level is about 17,000 CHF per month. But there are sometimes big differences between the universities within Switzerland in terms of wage levels.

Professor salaries in international comparison

  • In Germany, salaries for professors are paid according to collective agreements and an average salary is around 7,000 euros per month, which corresponds to about 7,500 CHF (Source: Gehaltsreporter.de).
  • According to the American Association of University Professors, the average salary of a full professor in the USA is $8,500 per month, or CHF 7,770 (source: naibuzz.com). Salaries at elite universities are of course much higher. At harvard University, for example, the basic salary averages $17,300 per month, or CHF 15,800.
  • French universities are usually public institutions, so the government sets their salaries. Permanently employed full professors earn an average of CHF 5,400 per month (source: naibuzz.com).
  • In Canada, a permanent full professor earns an average of CAD 10,400, which corresponds to approximately CHF 7,100 per month (source: glassdoor.com).

    Comparison of salaries of professors in Switzerland

  • Based on figures from swissuniversities and our own estimates, we have calculated an average gross salary for professors of CHF 17,198 per moth for 2018. By comparison, the salary in 2012 was 17,000 CHF. This means that the average salary has not risen significantly in the last 6 years.
  • The highest salaries are paid by ETH Zurich, EPFL and the University of St. Gallen.

    Gross salary of Swiss professors (incl. 13th month’s salary) in CHF; as of 01.09.2019:
Full Professor Assistant Professor

ETH Zurich / EPFL
213’487 - 280’902 151’675 - 219’090
University of Basel 61’440 - 250’191 126’712
University of Bern 150,264 - 240,421
113,863 - 182,181 (Ass.Prof. I)

102,121 - 163,394 (Ass.Prof.II)
Freiburg University Upper category

154’058 - 217’261

Basic category

127’741 - 183’537

118’301 - 171’218
University of Geneva 164,524 - 222,448 126,335 - 170,815
University of Lausanne 163’565 - 210’793 125’250 - 158’783
University of Lucerne 145’690 - 206’548 113’005 - 166’420
University of Neuchâtel 68’927 - 192’745 1 147’196 - 171’014
University of St. Gallen 183’749 - 225’339 119’916 - 152’926
Università della Svizzera Italiana 180’000 - 220’000 110’000 - 140’000
University of Zurich 169,222 - 247,065 137,236 - 200,361



Source: swissuniversities

Salarie differentials between female- and male professors

  • There are no significant salary differences between female- and male professors at Swiss universities.
  • The University of Zurich, for example, conducted a study of its own salaries in 2016 and found only very small differences between the salaries of men and women. The maximum difference for full female professors is 3.4% less, and for newly appointed female professors only 1% (source: UZH)
  • At the University of Zurich and also at the University of Geneva, internal investigations into equal pay are ongoing. The PH Lucerne participated in the national wage equality dialogue and found a wage difference of max. 2.3% (source: UZH)
  • For comparison, the pay gap in companies is 19.6% (2016, private and public sector, source: FSO).
  • In 2016, the median age of female professors at Swiss universities was 47 years, and that of professors 51 years.

    Source: BFS, UZH

Salarie differentials between professors and academic managers in the private sector

  • The salary of professors is slightly higher than that of academic managers in the private sector.
  • Professors’ salaries (based on average university salaries as reported by swissuniversities) are CHF 17,198 gross per month. In comparison, the salary of an academic manager in the chemical industry (natural scientist/engineer, 50 years old, university degree, upper/middle management) is CHF 14,000 (women CHF 12,100) per month (median). An academic executive in the pharmaceutical industry earns CHF 16,250 (women CHF 14,050) per month (median).

    Source: BFS/salarium.ch