Switzerland

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Where are the available workers?

According to the employment statistics, the number of employees in the secondary and tertiary sectors in Switzerland totalled 4 903 million in the second quarter of 2016, up by 0.6% (+30 000 jobs) on the previous year. In the secondary sector, employment fell by 1.0% (-11 000 jobs) while in the tertiary sector there was a 1.1% increase (+41 000 jobs).

In the secondary sector, employment saw negative growth both in manufacturing (-9 000 jobs, -1.3%) and in construction (-3 000, -0.7%). In the tertiary sector most economic sectors grew, particularly that of health (+22 000, +3.3%). However, there was a drop in employment in the business sector (-5 000, -0.8%).

There were 900 more vacancies in the Swiss economy compared with the same period in the previous year (+1.6%). However, the increase was observed only in the tertiary sector (+3.4%), while in the secondary sector the number of vacancies fell by 4.2%. The total job vacancy rate was 1.1% (1.0% in the secondary sector and 1.2% in the tertiary sector).

Text last edited on: 11/2016

Where are the available jobs?

According to the employment statistics, the number of employees in the secondary and tertiary sectors in Switzerland totalled 4 903 million in the second quarter of 2016, up by 0.6% (+30 000 jobs) on the previous year. In the secondary sector, employment fell by 1.0% (-11 000 jobs), while in the tertiary sector there was a 1.1% increase (+41 000 jobs).

In the secondary sector, employment saw negative growth both in manufacturing (-9 000 jobs, -1.3%) and in construction (-3 000, -0.7%). In the tertiary sector most economic sectors grew, particularly that of health (+22 000, +3.3%). However, there was a drop in employment in the business sector (-5 000, -0.8%).

There were 900 more vacancies in the Swiss economy compared with the same period in the previous year (+1.6%). However, the increase was observed only in the tertiary sector (+3.4%), while in the secondary sector the number of vacancies fell by 4.2%. The total job vacancy rate was 1.1% (1.0% in the secondary sector and 1.2% in the tertiary sector).

Text last edited on: 11/2016

Short overview of the labour market:

In the second quarter of 2016, Switzerland's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 0.6%. Foreign trade and state consumption provided positive impulses, while spending in the domestic economy remained unchanged. Investments in construction and equipment slowed down slightly. On the production front there was general growth. The energy, parastatal and business services sectors provided the greatest stimuli. Real GDP rose by 2.0% compared with the second quarter of 2015 (SECO).

GDP is estimated to grow by 1.8% in 2017 . In the two years ahead recovery will therefore be relatively uncertain, persistently marked by January's exchange rate shock.
In 2014, the Swiss population also adopted a popular initiative aimed at combating mass immigration. In doing so, it supported a change in Switzerland’s immigration policy. The Federal Council is now working to implement this referendum decision, which sets maximum annual quotas for foreign nationals and gives priority to Swiss nationals applying for job vacancies. Pending the entry into force of the implementing legislation in February 2017, the free movement of persons between EU Member States, EFTA countries and Switzerland will continue to apply.

The new constitutional provisions rule out the possibility of new agreements. Consequently, the Federal Council cannot sign the current version of the Protocol extending the EC-Switzerland agreement on the free movement of persons to Croatia. However, since 1 July 2014, Switzerland has established separate quotas for Croatian nationals; they continue to be admitted pursuant to the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (AuG).

In the second quarter of 2016, the number of people in employment in Switzerland was 5.033 million, i.e. a 1.6 % year-on-year increase. The employment rate (number of people in employment as a percentage of the population between 15 and 64 years old) is 84.4 %. The participation rate of women in the labour market is 45.7 %. Part-time work is more common than in most EU countries (36.6 %). At 41.7 hours, weekly working hours are more than one hour above the EU average.

In terms of distribution by sector, 76.9 % of workers are employed in the service sector, 19.8 % in industry and trade and about 3.3 % in the primary sector (2015).

Like many other countries, Switzerland has experienced steady population growth. In 1970, it had 6.1 million inhabitants, but in 2014 the resident population stood at 8.2 million, including almost 2 million foreign nationals (24.3 %). The immigration rate has accelerated since the introduction of freedom of movement in 2002. Last year (2014), for example, the population of Switzerland recorded a net increase of 96 900 (+1.2 %), comprising 36 200 Swiss nationals and 60 700 foreign nationals.

The foreign population plays a significant role in the Swiss labour market. At the end of 2014, about 30 % of those who were in employment were foreign nationals. Around two thirds of them originate from EU countries. Italians are the largest group of foreigners, followed by Germans and Portuguese. In addition to the permanent foreign population, about 64 000 short-stay workers work in Switzerland and in the second quarter of 2016 there were 308 175 cross-border commuters, most coming from neighbouring countries.

The high rate of nationals from EU and EFTA countries in the labour force is partly explained by their profiles, mostly highly qualified professionals, in high demand by Swiss companies.

Unemployment as defined by the ILO in the second quarter of 2016 was 4.3%. There were, however, considerable regional differences; moreover unemployment among the foreign population was almost three times the rate for Swiss nationals.

Text last edited on: 11/2016

Hot jobs:

Top 10 of the most required occupations in Switzerland

1.    Cooks    (ISCO 5120)
2.    Plumbers and pipe fitters    (ISCO 7126)
3.    Waiters    (ISCO 5131)
4.    Agricultural and industrial machinery mechanics and repairers    (ISCO 7233)
5.    Nursing associate professionals    (ISCO 3221)
6.    Building and related electricians    (ISCO 7411)
7.    Specialist medical practitioners    (ISCO 2212)
8.    Metal working machine tool setters and operators    (ISCO 7223)
9.    Carpenters and joiners    (ISCO 7115)
10.  Floor layers and tile setters    (ISCO 7122)

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