Switzerland

  1. About Switzerlandswiss
  2. Working conditions
  3. Sectors and companies that are recruiting
  4. Applying for a job
  5. Major recruitment pointers
  6. Recruitment Resources and networks

1. About Switzerland

People who want to work in Switzerland should take the country’s linguistic and cultural diversity into account. 64% of the population speaks German (universal use of dialect), 20% speaks French and 7% Italian. Although the country is not a member of the European Union, it has signed a series of bilateral agreements that guarantee free movement and establishment to all citizens of the European Union and is part of the Schengen group of countries. Switzerland’s economy is very export driven with a very positive balance of payments. The Swiss value personal responsibility and entrepreneurship.

Population: 7.7 million

GDP per inhabitant (2009): CHF 68’638.-

Unemployment rate (08/11): 2.8%

2. Working conditions

Legal working hours : 45 hours per week with 4 weeks of holidays

Length of trial / notice period: the trial period for a new employee is normally of 3 months with a notice period of one week. The legal notice period is of 1 month during the 1st year of employment, 2 months from the 2nd to the 10th year and 3 months after that. The notice period must be respected by both companies and employees.

Employment formalities: Foreign citizens need a work permit. This is easy to obtain for EU-citizens. For non-EUR citizens, the company is required to “prove” the impossibility or extreme difficulty of finding such a profile within the country.

3. Sectors that are recruiting

Switzerland’s main industries are financial services, new technologies, machines, watches, life sciences and tourism. There is permanent demand for engineers, IT-specialists and technical sales people. As many multinational companies are headquartered in Switzerland, candidates with an international background are much sought after.

4. Applying for a job

Application documents: CV with photograph and copies of degrees and work certificates if available (companies provide their employees with certificates when they leave). The certificate states the title and nature of the job and gives some indication about the degree of satisfaction with the company, as well as reasons for leaving. Reference letters can be helpful if no certificates can be provided

Advice regarding the CV: the photograph should be of good quality. The CV should be relatively short and state the employment history in inverse chronological order. Personal details (Family situation, etc.) are expected

5. Major recruitment pointers

Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews: wear a tie, shake hands, don’t ask about working hours, holidays, etc. during the first interview. Don’t speak about salary or benefits unless the interviewer asks you to (this subject might be broached only in a later interview)

Languages you must be able to speak: German, French, English (jobs with a national scope absolutely require German). English-only speakers will have only limited opportunities of employment, basically at headquarters of international companies

Flagship training: Federal Polytechnical Schools of Zurich and LausanneIMDSt. Gallen University

Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: salaries are normally higher than in the European Union, especially for lower and middle management. Income tax will vary a lot from Canton to Canton and be typically lower than in surrounding countries. However, compulsory pension saving and health insurance will eat up much of that advantage. Very low wealth tax and no capital gains tax except on real estate

6. Recruitment resources and networks

Important business networking sites: LinkedInViadeo (French), Xing (German)

Best sites for jobs: www.jobs.ch
www.alpha.chwww.myscience.ch, www.nzzexecutive.chwww.jobup.ch

Where to network: Alumni networks, (IMD, Insead, Harvard, St. Gallen, etc.), Swiss Marketing ClubExecutives Internationalwww.localbusnet.com , Business Clubs Bern and Zurich, etc.