In the last twenty years the Swiss middle class has lost ground compared with the lower and upper classes. Mid-range pay may have risen in real terms, but the increase has been less than for low and high earners. The middle classes are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves from the lower social strata or advance up the scale. This loss of position is one of the key roots of middle class dissatisfaction.

One reason why the position of the middle class has eroded is that there are fewer mid-range jobs along with greater demand for people with lower or higher qualifications. A successful apprenticeship no longer guarantees a place in the middle of the social structure. This development is reflected in a shift in wage structures over the last twenty years.

Another reason for middle class dissatisfaction is government activity: with governments busy trying to redistribute income by way of uncoordinated taxes, tariffs and transfers, the middle classes often find themselves no better or worse off than when they started.