Study title
Investment in training by Swiss companies: importance and effectiveness
Ref study 1220
Study language German
Contributing institutions
  • Berufsbildung
  • Lehre
  • Betrieb
  • Investition
  • Berufsausbildung
  • Erwachsenenbildung
  • Berufsbegleitende Ausbildung
  • Bildungskosten
Geographical space
  • Switzerland
Vocational training is the most widespread post-compulsory education in Switzerland, with more than half of young people entering apprenticeship at the end of compulsory schooling. Given the importance of this training route to our country's public economy, it is surprising that no one to date has investigated exactly what the cost of this training was or who was paying for it. In the study presented here - a project carried out within the framework of National Research Programme 33 ("Effectiveness of our training systems") - a research team proposed to gather reliable information on this subject. The elements on which the data in the final research report are based were collected from more than 3,500 companies across Switzerland representing a wide range of industries.
Companies invest considerable resources in the training of apprentices. These include their salaries, the working time trainers use to train them, and the costs incurred by machines and spaces used partly or solely for training purposes. On the other hand, firms benefit to some extent from the relatively low wages of apprentices. Net training costs are defined as the difference between the costs resulting from training and the productive contribution of young people in apprenticeship.
These costs vary greatly depending on the industry and the size of the company. With regard to the latter, the results show that costs increase disproportionately with the total number of employees. Small enterprises (2 to 9 employees) achieve a balance between their investment in training and the productive contribution of young people in training. Medium (10-99 employees) and large (100 or more employees) companies spend between CHF 1'000 and 20'000 per year per apprentice. The differences can be explained not only by the amount of resources invested, but also by differences in the wages paid to apprentices and in the estimation of their productive contribution. The average net costs in the construction sector, for example, are CHF 7,000, in retail trade CHF 12,000 and in industry CHF 23,000. This is because, on the one hand, the qualifications required increase in proportion to the use of sophisticated technologies; on the other hand, it reflects the fact that, on average, firms are larger in commerce than in construction, and larger in manufacturing than in commerce. Independently of the branch and size of the company, 40-45% of the training costs of apprentices are used for their remuneration, 30-35% for the remuneration of those who train them and the rest for other costs (premises, machinery, administration, etc.).
Overall, Swiss companies spent around CHF 3.8 billion on dual vocational training in 1994, while apprentices made an estimated profit of CHF 2.1 billion. This resulted in net costs of CHF 1.7 billion. This means that 26% of the costs generated by vocational training in apprenticeship are borne by companies, 43% by public funds and 31% by young people in training themselves, by their contribution to the benefit of companies.
Methods (description)
Befragungen (Vollerhebung bei den 250 arbeitnehmerstärksten Betrieben der Schweiz und bei den 30 grössten Banken; Repräsentativbefragungen in drei ausgewählten Branchen und Overlay).
Methods (instruments)
Replicated study No
  • Hanhart, Siegfried; Schulz, Hans-Rudolf. 1998. Lehrlingsausbildung in der Schweiz: Kosten und Finanzierung. Verlag Rüegger, Chur/Zürich, 1998.
  • Hanhart, Siegfried; Schultz, Hans-Rudolf. 1998. La formation des apprentis en Suisse. Coûts et financements. Collection Sciences de l'Education, Delachaux et Niestlé S.A., Lausanne, 1998.
Financed by
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) SCCRE
Date created 23.04.2018
Date modified 23.04.2018
Start - End date 01.07.1993 - 28.06.1995