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UBS wage survey: minor increases in 2004

Media Releases Switzerland

Nominal wage growth of 0.9% expected

UBS's latest wage survey suggests that nominal wage levels will rise by 0.9% in 2004. Respondents expect inflation to be 0.5%, as a result of which the real increase should be about 0.4%. These are the main findings of the 15th UBS wage survey of companies in 19 industries.

The most generous pay deals in the latest round were once again in telecom and IT (2.2% and 1.9% respectively), despite the difficulties these sectors are experiencing. High rises (2.0%) are also expected by the companies surveyed in the energy sector. Very small ones, on the other hand, are anticipated in the sectors hardest hit by the economic downturn, including printing and graphic design (0.4%), watches (0.5%) and automotive (0.5%).

Of the companies with a bonus system (about 70% of those surveyed), roughly half expect bonuses to be lower in 2004. Only 7% foresee a moderate increase in bonuses.

As regards the economic trend going forward, respondents appear to be much more optimistic than they were in last year's survey.

The positive economic outlook is also having an impact on human resources planning. Far fewer companies than last year plan to reduce their headcount (37% for 2004, compared with 52% for 2003), while others (17%) intend to create new jobs.

These results are from UBS's annual wage survey, which was carried out between 1 and 18 October 2003. The survey covers companies and employer associations in 19 sectors that between them account for about 57% of the total Swiss workforce. The average discrepancy between the survey's estimates and the official wage figures published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office in the period from 1989 to 2002 was only 0.36%.

Zurich, 29 October 2003