Work in Switzerland

Considering the quality of life, salaries, and work conditions in Switzerland, the country has become a real hot spot for immigrants from all over the world. However, the competition in the Swiss labor market is highly intense and it is not that easy to get a work in Switzerland. Considering the limited number of work permits granted annually, the task gets even harder.

Situation in the Swiss labor market

The situation with work in Switzerland is not as bright and promising as it was just a few years ago. At the beginning of 2015, the government had taken a decision to unpeg the Swiss franc from the currency of the Eurozone, which resulted in losing at least 1,000 jobs per month. At the same time, the rate of unemployment reached 3.8% – the highest level of this indicator during the last 7 years.

work in switzerland

Switzerland is the country with the highest ratio of part-time/full-time employment in Europe

The statistics provided by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs shows that the higher chances of an immigrant to lose a job than of a Swiss citizen. Even though the foreigners amount to 25% of the Swiss population, they occupy 48% of workplaces in the country. 1/5 of the permanently employed in Switzerland are foreigners. The Swiss labor market is quite distinctive thanks to the large participation of older people (76%) and women (59%). Part-time jobs are undertaken also more often than in any other EU country: 13% of men and 59% of women work in part-time jobs. The number of frontier (or frontelier) workers – those who work in Switzerland but live in their home countries – is estimated to be 215,000 in the country of 8,38 million people.

After the global economic crisis, the country toughened the migration rules and decreased the quotes of annually granted work permits. The government’s spokesmen explained that it is caused by a single fact that too many foreigners get work in Switzerland in the fields where the unemployment is the highest. At the same time, they admitted that the demand for workers with high qualifications and proper attitude still remains strong. So, foreigners who possess such qualifications will still be in demand.

Where you can find work in Switzerland?

Despite the toughening of the migration rules, the rate of unemployment of Switzerland (despite being quite high in the last years) remains one of the lowest among the European countries. The demand for foreign workers, as it was mentioned above, has been shifted towards more qualified professionals in the recent years.

First of all, it would be better to say what sectors it is better to avoid or not to make much of an effort for finding a job in those fields. Since 2005, the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry industries have witnessed the record reduction of employees, connected with the industries’ move towards operations with a larger scale. The industries of mechanical engineering (-6.3% of employees since 2009) and metal manufacturing (-6.5%) have been also affected. Also, lots of dismissals took place in the companies that produce watches and clocks, precision instruments, and medical equipment (-5.7%).

switzerland work

Pharmaceuticals are among the leaders of growth in Switzerland and offer quite good opportunities to well-qualified immigrants

Basically, if you want to get a work in Switzerland, you should consider the following (and most demanded) professions: business and system analytics, financial analytics, insurance sphere, IT sphere, banking, consulting, pharmaceuticals, engineering and technology. As you can notice, all the professions, one way or another, require high qualifications. By the way, 73% of the countries GDP is produced in the service industry.

How to look for a work in Switzerland?

If you want to work in Switzerland, you need to find a job prior to arriving to the country. There are different ways of doing so, all of which you can see below.

working in switzerland

Adecco is one of the two largest recruiting agencies in Switzerland

Work websites. One of the easiest ways to look for a work in Switzerland is searching on the internet. There are many professional websites that are regularly updated, where you can find new vacancies posted everyday. Namely, we recommend you to use the following job websites:

Special industry websites. There are particular websites that are dedicated to certain industries and where workers with the respective qualifications are able to find a job. In particular, there are the following websites:

The other widespread method of finding a job is looking for advertisements in magazines and newspapers. Actually, you can look for a work in Switzerland in the following newspapers and magazines:

  • 24 Heures;
  • Basler Zeitung;
  • Berner Zeitung;
  • Le Temps;
  • Neue Zürcher Zeitung;
  • Tages-Anzeiger and Sonntags Zeitung;
  • Corriere del Ticino;
  • Tribune de Geneve;
  • Handelsblatt;
  • Schweizerische Handels-Zeitung.

Recruitment agencies are a far easier way of looking for a work in Switzerland, yet it may come at a price of up to 4,000 Euros. In Switzerland, they are usually called as Arbeitsvermittlung in German or Agence de Placement in French. The most popular and respectable recruitment agencies in Switzerland are Adecco and Manpower.

Do not neglect using the services of networks like LinkedIn, since many Swiss employers find their potential employees exactly there. Apart from the world-renowned network, there are also Irish Business Network, Executives International, and Career’s Women Forum.

EURES, which stands for the European Job Mobility Portal, is also a source of vacancies in Switzerland.

What else do you need for getting a work in Switzerland?

Apart from work visas/permits (the information about it you can find in the respective section of our websites), you need to consider a few more aspects in order to get employed in Switzerland. Namely, it is going about your qualifications and knowledge of languages.

Your qualifications (i.e. diplomas) must be recognized by the Swiss institutions, even if you are a citizen of an EU country. That is a mandatory procedure for anyone who wants to work in the spheres that require professional qualifications, such as social works, law, technology, finance, teaching and finance.

Knowledge of language is, without any doubt, a needed attribute in this country. Whereas multinational companies like Nestle or Glencore International hire English-speakers, you might face problems if you choose to work for a different company without a knowledge of foreign languages. Namely, you will need German language in the North and the Center, French language in the West, and Italian language in the South. Specialists who speak other languages, like Russian or Mandarin, are valued quite a low in Switzerland.

Useful sources

Here you can find other sources regarding the matter of work in Switzerland, but which were not included in the text above:


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

State Secretariat for Migration