In 2018, Credit Suisse once again commissioned the research institute gfs.bern to conduct a survey to establish the principal worries of the Swiss, as well as their perception of the country's key identifying features. For many years, unemployment was by far the biggest worry for the Swiss, and still ranked second in 2017 after being ousted from top spot by retirement provisions. This year, however, unemployment experienced a fall of 22 percentage points, and now ranks just sixth in the list of the nation's greatest worries. Retirement provision and healthcare/health insurance now rank first and second in the list of Swiss worries, as cited by 45% and 41% of respondents respectively. The issue of healthcare/health insurance experienced a rise of 15 percentage points in 2018, the greatest increase of any worry. When asked to name the most urgent political priority, the issue of Old Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHV) likewise came to the fore, as cited by 15% of respondents.
Credit Suisse Worry Barometer 2018. What the Swiss are concerned about.
Nothing worries the Swiss more than retirement provision. Generally, they believe the most urgent problems facing their country are domestic. And this year, respondents expressed little concern about job security.
Retirement provision: a problem for society as a whole
The in-depth section of the survey devoted to retirement provision shows that respondents view the principal worry – retirement provisions/pensions – as a problem that affects society as a whole. 86% of Swiss believe that everyone should help to secure the future of Switzerland's pension system. Respondents are satisfied with the "three pillar" model: 72% believe that this model works well and should be retained in its current form. Overall, satisfaction levels are at their highest for the third pillar (50%). The second and first pillars record satisfaction ratings of 44% and 42% respectively. When it comes to measures that should be taken to secure the future of the AHV system, 60% of Swiss are in favor of an increase of 1% in value-added tax over the next five years. The solution of making the retirement age flexible in keeping with life expectancy is found to be acceptable by 52%, while 48% are in favor of raising the retirement age for women to 65. By contrast, there is little enthusiasm for measures such as reducing existing pensions (18%) or increasing the retirement age to 67 (17%).
Digitalization not fueling job security
The current debate over the loss of jobs as a result of digitalization does not appear to be concerning the Swiss that much. Comparing the 2018 survey with that of last year, it is not just unemployment that has fallen down the list of Swiss worries: 75% now think it is unlikely that their job will be automated by robots, new technologies, or intelligent software within the next 20 years. A combined total of 85% of respondents believe their own jobs are very secure or somewhat secure.
Trust: Security up, free newspapers and internet down
The Swiss believe in their institutions like almost no other national population. Some 61% trust the Federal Council, while trust in national governments in the OECD as a whole works out at an average of just 43%. The biggest losers in this year's trust rankings are the internet and free newspapers (minus 19 percentage points in both cases), followed by the EU (minus 16 percentage points) and political parties (minus 13 percentage points). The big winners this year when it comes to trust include security institutions such as the police and the army, both of which registered an increase of 14 percentage points. This lifts the police to first place on the Swiss list of the most trustworthy institutions – a position it shares with the Federal Supreme Court, which witnessed a rise of four percentage points. Both institutions are deemed trustworthy by 70% of Swiss.
About the Worry Barometer
What are the major concerns of people in Switzerland? How much confidence do they have in decision-makers in the fields of politics, business, and society? For the past 42 years, Credit Suisse has conducted an annual Worry Barometer survey to examine precisely these issues. With the Worry Barometer, Credit Suisse aims to contribute to the public debate on issues of socio-political relevance. Between July 10 and August 6, 2018, the research institute gfs.bern asked 2,551 voters across Switzerland about their concerns on behalf of Credit Suisse. The statistical sampling error is ±2.0 percentage points.