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How to Keep your Job in Switzerland

Posted on 30 December 2011 by Steven

Switzerland still has the highest salaries in Europe, but the bilateral agreements have resulted in a significant increase in unemployment. Swiss companies, like those elsewhere, have been trimming their workforce to lower costs and raise profits. Only the cosseted employees of local, state and federal government are immune, enjoying lifetime jobs and indexed salaries.

Over the past 12 months, unemployment rose over 50%.
In 2012 roughly 90,000 will be cut in CH.

If you’re in the private sector you need to be performant to stay employed and well-paid.

Here are some tips to keeping your job in Switzerland:

1) Identify yourself with your company.
Managers always prefer staff who feel implicated in the life of the company, who share its goals and worry about its problems,
and who are effective in bad times as in good times. In general, chiefs want loyal staff more than good mercenaries.

2) Have confidence in yourself
Unemployment has doubled in 2 years but at (officially) 6%, it’s still a lot less than elswhere in the EU.
It means there still close to 95% employment.
So don’t panic every time your manager calls you for a meeting that it means you’re going to be fired. Such a timorous
attitude will be noticed and will likely lead to be being considered expendable.

3) Don’t fear change.
Change always represents opportunity. The conomy changes, businesses change.
Change is inevitable everywhere. If you consider it an opportunity rather than a threat, you’re more than halfway to being a winner.
The best employees are those who are open and flexible.
Resisting change never brings anything but making work more difficult for everyone.

4) Keep learning.
Whatever happens, one has to remain competitive and on top of one’s field. As companies spend less and less on corporate training,
you need to show some imagination in keeping abreast of developments in your field. For example: attending a management seminar or a language course. Those who strive are always valued more highly in the coroporate environment.

5) Specialize
PRactically every branch of the economy is threatened by outsourcing.
Consider how to acquire speciliazed skills, whatever niche that may be, so that you cannot be replaced or your role outsourced. The goal: your company should have too much difficulty replacing you.

7) Pay attention to what’s going on around you; you’ll be better prepared for what may come.
Did you notice we skipped number 6 ?

8) Be proactive. Don’t be one of those emplyees who always takes refuge in his job description and figures, it’s not my problem. If you see you can be useful with help in some other department, offer your help.

9) Where relevant, make suggestions to management where cost savings may be made.
In periods of difficulty, management has to be very sensitive to costs. Even when it’s a question of small savings, like reducing mobile phone usage in favor of landlines or reducing color photocopies, it shows you are rowing in the same direction as your company.

10) Attendence and Rapidity
Be early to work and leave a little later. Everybody notices the guy who shots down his computer at 16:45 to be out the door before 17h00. Just like everyone notices the colleague who takes 2 hour lunch breaks. Consider the Appearance of your commitment.

11) Don’t work at home or outside the office. It’s a sad fact but but if they can’t see it, they assume it isn’t there.
It’s a waste of time (unless you enjoy doing it or are paid according to results).
Management has to SEE you working.

12) Look dynamic.
As a corollary to 11, be energetic — you motivate others, appear stress resistant to your management, and you give the general impression of doing more than you actually are.
In organizational structures, appearance is more importance than being.
Therefore, give special attention to sleeping well, eating well, and being general well-balanced. Just showing up at work healthy and full of energy is 90% of the battle.

13) Be optimistic.
At least in what you say at work. Nobody like the pessimist who is full of negativity, saying this won’t work, that isn’t how it
should have been, he isn’t suited for the job, she won’t succeed on that new project, etc. Pessimists irritate everyone and when it’s time to cut staff
they have the fewest friends defending them.

14) Participate in the company life, pay attention to your appearance
How you dress sends out signals about how you value yourself and how others should value you.

15) Do your own marketing inside the company.
Just doing your job well doesn’t cut it anymore.
You have to make sure management realizes how well you’re doing your jobs and how valuable you are to the company. The higher up you are in the hierarchy of a company the more time you have to spend on personal marketing. For mid level managers this can be 50% of one’s time.

16) Be careful about absences for illness.
OK, if you have to have a kidney transplant, you have to have one.
But be aware of how management will perceive a 2-week absence for flu in an epoch where resources are stretched and everyone is under pressure.

17) Stay busy.
Did you finish everything you have to do ? Maybe there’s some other
critical work you can help with?

18) Be humble and patient
In 2012, it is unlikely to be propitious to ask for a raise or a promotion.
The economy is going to limp by, a lot of companies (particularly PMEs) will fight to survive, consumption will contract and revenues will decline.
Even if you’re a worldbeater and amply deserve your raise or promotion, let your boss or management (or a competitor’s headhunter) offer it.

19) Evaluate yourself
Consider yourself and your performance from the point of view of your management.
Improve yourself where you can.

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Tags: bilateral agreements, criminality, european community, jobs at multinationals, professional workforce, social disturbances, swiss economy, swiss tax, swiss-based companies, tax advantages, Unemployment

Multinationals Reconsider Switzerland

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Steven

swiss_economy_downAccording to a SwissHoldings survey conducted in 2009 across 80 of the largest multinational groups operating in Switzerland, there is considerable anxiety and uncertainty over the degradation of working conditions and ‘standard of living’ in general.

The erosion of banking secrecy is no the only illness affecting the health of the Swiss economy. Switzerland is also suffering from a variety of other problems, some of which of such a serious nature that many multinationals are re-examining the advantages of remaining in Switzerland.

Criticism is rising concerning the different tax regimes in operation in the different cantons, which compete to attract the multinationals and foreign holding companies.

This loose federated system is under attack by the European Union, of which Switzerland is not even a member; the EU considers it to be unfair competition.

The companies surveyed evinced anxiety over the uncertainty over the political direction Switzerland will take. The Swiss only narrowly voted for bilateral agreements with the European Union permitting the free flow of workers into Switzerland from any EU country, and the integration into the Schengen space. The result has been a stark degradation in the employment market, as well as precipitous rise in criminality and disorder. In all the major Swiss cities, open air drug dealing and violent crime has risen sharply, prisons and police forces are overwhelmed, and at the same time real-estate prices and rents have exploded as Switzerland welcomed 300,000,000 potential buyers onto its market. Previously, Switzerland’s laws forbid the acquisition of property by nonresidents.

Multinationals have often chosen to set up their European headquarters in Switzerland not only for tax advantages but for the standard of living it offered its expatriates — a major selling point in its global recruitment efforts. The decline in living standards, along with overcrowding, housing shortages, regular traffic jams, rising criminality and other social problems previously unknown here, are causing companies to reconsider their presence here.

A change in the tax structure may just be the last straw. Finance Minister Hans Merz (who was responsible for the UBS bailout) has proposed instead of changing the regime of cantonal prerogatives in taxation, to rather appease EU concerns by proposing to abolish or modify the statutes regulating domiciled or holding companies. The cantons would be forced to raise their taxation of these types of companies. The Swiss government has been doing a lot appeasing of foreign governments over the past year. In Switzerland the Federal government (following almost a Chinese-style model) is not elected by the people.

SwissHoldings director Peter Baumgartner laid particular stress on the fact that the large international companies are seeking ’above all a legal and fiscal stability,’ and that this stability is absent in Switzerland.

However the current problems affecting international companies based in Switzerland go beyond potentially shifting tax structures –which well-paid accountants have always been able to navigate– and overlap with the current problems facing almost every other Swiss citizen: and these problems, extensive in nature, will require a major change in direction of Switzerland’s currently mismanaged foreign policy and economy.

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Tags: BNS, France, Geneva, Germany, housing, immigration workers, Italy, lake leman, lifetime employment, Montreux, prices, property owners, region, resident foreigners, rices in property prices and rent, rising, Romandie, Salaries, Schwytz, seeking jobs, switzerland, trend, urban centers, wave of immigration, Zug

Rising Immigration Causes Rents to Rise in Geneva

Posted on 13 December 2009 by Sprecher

geneva_housingHousing prices across the entire lake leman region, from Geneva to Montreux, are rising eith the influx of foreigners seeking work in the Romandie area. Higher unemployment in neighboring France, Italy, and Germany have resulted in substantial increases immigration of workers seeking jobs in Switzerland. The National Bank of Switzerland (BNS) recently published a study of the trend, linking the wave of immigration to rising property prices and rents. The BNS is one of many government organs or agencies whose federal workers have lifetime employment with indexed salaries.

According to a report by Wuest & Partner, over the past 3 years, rents have risen by more than 10% in Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich. Across all of Switzerland renters appear to have been the most penalized by the trend of rising property prices. In Switzerland only one third of households are property owners.

Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Aigle, Zurich and Lugano are among the 10 regions with the strongest rise in the number of resident foreigners. According to the OFS (the federal bureau of statistics) the trend has accentuated steadily over the past 4 years, with 2008 the year with the largest wave of immigration since statistics were collected. The immigrants came mainly from neighboring European countries.

The BNS however refrained from venturing a precise quantitative relation between the flux of new immigrant workers and the extent of the rise in rents. Rather, they limited their conclusions to anodyne observations on the ineluctable relationship between supply and demand.

The Europeans who have moved to Switzerland over the past several years have occasionally chosen to purchase their lodgings, in which case their purchases have influenced the rising prices of small multifamily houses or villas or apartments.

A percentage of the new immigrants do not seek residence in the urban centers but rather in small tax shelter cantons like Schwytz or Zug. There has been a substantial rise in the already high property prices in Zug resulting from the phenomenon of European immigrants seeking fiscally advantageous domiciles. It has forced a substantial number of indigenous residents out of the town because of the rising prices.

According to the BAK in Basel, the property shortfall in the affected areas will result in a drop of roughly 20% in available properties for purchase or rent, causing further rises in property prices and rents.

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Tags: luxury industries, luxury watch, swiss economy, Unemployment, unemployment switzerland

Swiss Labor Market Remains Tense

Posted on 07 December 2009 by PCT

swiss_labourThe Swiss employment market continued to deteriorate in the 3rd quarter with some sectors of the economy struck harder than others. The most jobs were lost in the luxury industries and watch making sector with the unemployment rate skyrocketing nearly 300% in a period of 12 months. Also the number of unemployed increased by roughly 150% over the same 12 month period. Workers in energy and real estate saw the number of their unemployed double over the past year.

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Tags: community, digital technologies, employment, experts, Facebook, iPhones, IT professionals, network, new services, techniques, training engineers, Twitter, Web 2.0, Youtube

Full employment for IT professionals

Posted on 29 November 2009 by Papessa

job_it_specialistThe recent development of social networks is symptomatic of the trends toward permanent connectivity and total IT immersion. In this new context, Web 2.0 is creating a growing space of new services essentially without limits. Content is disseminated by all kinds of networks at higher and higher bandwidth.

But in order for our economies and societies to enter this new networked phase — « always on » — there are several conditions which must be satisfied.

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Luxury Industries Lose More Jobs

Posted on 20 June 2009 by Papessa

In the luxury industry, both Zenith and Metalor have indicated they intend to cut further staff. The luxury watch maker Franck Muller already shook up the Romandy region of Switzerland with the announcement of a 50% reduction in the company’s 450 strong workforce.

Zenith and Metalor have announced 120 a total of 120 job losses between them. The two companies say that falling orders for luxury watches and jewelry are the cause. They had each already made job cuts several months back.

The job cuts hit the canton of Neuchatel particularly hard. Neuchatel has a large proportion of the luxury brands headquartered there.

Metalor, specialized in precious metals (present in both Neuchatel and Marin) will be laying off roughly 50 staff.

Zenith is a subsidiary of LVMH and the spokesman indicated that the substantial difficulties that the sector is experiencing are behind the job losses. All branches of the business are affected by the cuts and all levels of the company. Zenith also let go 20 staff in January of this year.

The companies have not divulged their financial situation but analysts evaluate sales for 2008 at roughly 100 million francs. It is difficult to determine the extent of the decrease in sales, but sector analysts say it is roughly 30%. Zenith is also strongly present in the US market where sales have declined as much as 50%.

Metalor is one of the main suppliers of Rolex and explains its financial straits in similar terms – the morose state of the luxury sector. Zenith’s firing of 50 staff adds to the 40 they let go in late 2008. Metalor employs 460 people in Switzerland and 1300 worldwide.
For 2008, the company made a profit CHF 62 million on sales of 330 million.

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Tags: Economy, employment, hiring freeze, jobseekers, recession

Swiss Companies : Jobs Freeze

Posted on 09 December 2008 by ThomasP

The employment market in Switzerland has begun deteriorating. Official statistics from November released this morning by the SECO (an organ of the Swiss Federal Government) showed new jobs creation grinding to a halt and unemployment rates rising to 2.7% from a previous 2.6%.

The employment index, calculated by the HES of Soleure and the University of Zurich on a mandate from the company Monster, showed a 5 point drop in October, its first drop since 2003.

The economics professor Yves Fluckiger, director of the Employment Observatory of Geneva, believes that the number of unemployed will grow by 30,000 – 40,000 persons within the next 12 months. The unemployment rate is thus expected to rise to 3.5% – 3.6%. In fact, over the next 4 – 6 months, the unemployment statistics will mostly be hit by the already jobless who will have greater difficulty finding work in a market which is tightening up and go into bunker mode.

Off balance by the recessionist economic perspectives, companies are scaling back hiring, resulting in fewer opportunities for those without jobs to get off unemployment.

Swiss unemployment set to rise

Added to this, recruiters and analysts of the job market say, will be an increase in companies laying off workers.

The Regional Placement Offices (ORP) claim that they are already seeing these tendencies. The federal government has already been sending out circulars advising regional placement offices to increase their staff (at least they are hiring !) to deal with expected rise in the number of unemployed who will need assistance in finding a job.

The canton of Fribourg is already seeking to hire several new placement case officers.
Neuchatel’s two placement offices currently employ 40 staff and are in the process of recruiting 4 more placement advisors. They say they may hire more in 2009.

The canton of Geneva’s placement centers employ roughly 200 staff – making them an important source of employment for Geneva – and have not yet launched any new job offers but sources say they will be hiring more staff for 2009, according to Patrick Schmied, the director of the Office Cantonal de L’Emploi.

On average, a placement officer handles 100 jobless candidates at the same time. In December 2007 Switzerland had 131 regional placement offices for the jobless and employed a total of 2500 persons. These offices handled a total of 436,000 unemployed seeking a job.

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Tags: biotech, corsier, Corsier-sur-Vevey, erbitux, merck, pharma, R&D, research, serono, vevey

More Pharma Jobs in Vevey

Posted on 16 November 2008 by Hans-T

Pharmaceutical giant Merck Serono is extending its Romandy-based biotechnology facilities, building a new center in Corsier-sur-Vevey and dadding several hundred new jobs.

Merck, founded in Germany in the 17th century, acquired Serono from the Bertarelli family in 2006 for over $10 billion last year in a highly publicized acquisition.

Merck Serono will spend roughly half a billion Swiss francs to construct a 3rd and fourth biotech center.

The new centers are to allow Merck Serono to design special molecules for treating various pathologies such as colon cancer. By 2012 Merck expects to ramp up production of Erbitux – a new cancer drug.

The arrival of the new centers was not without controversy – various associations like Greenpeace and WWF unsuccessfully fought the construction of the new buildings, mainly over the issue of genetic modification of organisms and problem of disposal of bio-organisms (particularly in the water).

Jobs in Vevey - Pharmaceuticals - Merck Serono

But the opposing arguments of economic benefits for the region and job creation won out.

The two sides ultimately compromised with the pharmaceutical giant agreeing to make public the data on any pollutants and the water purifying facilities in the area were improved.

With the new center in Vevey, which already houses Nestle’s lakeside world headquarters, 200 new jobs will be added to the already existing 300 jobs in the current facilities.

The headquarters of Merck Serono are in Geneva, and they provide jobs for researchers, scientists, engineers, biologists and laboratory workers.

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