6 Trends in Switzerland that Influence Career Mobility

Posted on Apr 23, 2019 | 0 comments

6 Trends in Switzerland that Influence Career Mobility

Switzerland, a country that embraces neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland’s economy benefits from a well-developed services sector led by financial services and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-tech production. The country is a not a European Union (EU) member, but follows many European regulations through bilateral agreements with the EU.

Career mobility in Switzerland is high. People easily change jobs and move to other parts of the country for their careers. The fact that 70% of the Swiss population don’t own but rent a house makes mobility easy. However, mobility across the German/French/Italian language borders is limited. Here are six factors influencing moving your career to Switzerland:

 1. Brexit

The Swiss labor market is influenced by national and international economic changes. Since the announcement that the UK is leaving the EU, called Brexit, many internationals are looking to move from the UK to Switzerland and other European countries. Highly skilled workers from diverse industries like banking are entering the Swiss market.

2. Strong Swiss Franc

Due to the strong Swiss Franc in recent years, Switzerland’s export position has weakened. High wages result in high production costs, which lead manufacturing companies to outsource their production to cheaper countries in Eastern Europe or Asia.  This tends to reduce the job opportunities in manufacturing. Many of these jobs were attractive to immigrants who don’t speak German fluently; this trend has reduced these types of job opportunities over the last two years.

3. Change of Industries

Partly due to economic situation, the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector is declining. In 2000, this sector accounted for 20% of the Swiss jobs; currently, it is at 15% and it is estimated that by 2030 it will further drop to 12.5%, resulting in a reduction of 100,000 jobs. The opposite can be said for the healthcare and professional services sectors (IT, strategic consulting and the financial sector). In this sector, growth started in 2000 and accounted for 10% of the job market, with 12.5% in 2015 and with an expected increase of another 200,000 positions by 2030. Based on this trend, a shortage of employees in the health care sector is expected.

4. Stagnation of the Workforce Growth

The Swiss workforce is not growing as fast as it should based on economic predictions. Compared to other European countries, the participation of women, part time as well as full time, lags behind. Another problem the Swiss face is the legal age of retirement of 61 for women and 63 to 65 for men. Highly skilled and experienced workers leave the job market early.  Currently, the government is working on initiatives to increase the participation of these two groups. This includes providing more child care, setting quotas for participation of women in management positions, equalizing payments for men and women, and eliminating tax disadvantages if both partners in a married couple work.

5. Immigration Quota

A third way to grow the workforce is to increase the number of immigrants, in particular from EU countries. There is a sentiment to limit the number of immigrants entering Switzerland. In 2015, the Swiss population voted by referendum to limit immigration quotas, intending to protect Swiss jobs from being taken by foreigners. As a result, the number of work permits for EU nationals decreased by 500, but in 2016 was raised by the same amount. Nonetheless, the working population remains very international with 21% being non-Swiss. Highly qualified workers from Germany, such as teachers, healthcare workers, and managers, are employed all over Switzerland.

6. General Trends

As with other European countries, labor mobility is rising in Switzerland. Staying with the same company for an entire career is no longer common. A so-called patchwork career, taking different positions at different companies, is a growing trend. And large-scale outsourcing of non-core activities to agencies increases mobility and the number of temporary work contracts. These temporary contracts are becoming more and more common. In this way, companies are able to adjust their workforce quickly to economic changes and to remain competitive. These new trends require more flexibility and mobility from employers and employees to be successful in the Swiss job market.

By Patricia Heemskerk, Expert Global Career Coach for Passport Career

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