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Luxury Brands Reduce Staff

Posted on 12 April 2009 by Papessa

luxzury_brandsThe luxury and watchmaking industries are undergoing some strong setbacks from slowing orders and several luxury brands have begun letting go employees. Top companies already began shedding jobs last autumn. Nonetheless, as often happens in downturns, some companies are also hiring as well. The paradox is that companies look at the business downturn as an opportunity to better optimize the company competitive position, firing less performing staff and hiring others. Continue Reading

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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: Basel, careers, employment, jobs, novartis, Pharmaceutical, switzerland, work

Novartis has record profitability – more jobs in Basel

Posted on 25 October 2008 by Hans-T

Outside of the banks and finance companies, there are many sectors of the Swiss economy that are only minimally affected by the financial crisis and continue to show a growth of jobs in Switzerland.

Consider the case of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, based in Basel. A Spokesperson for Novartis said this week that Novartis has no exposure whatever to insolvent financial institutions. The group’s figures for the first three quarters show a 12% increase in profitability over last year for a total of $31.4 billion, and a net profit of $7.25 billion. Novartis’ profitability rose by 19% compared to the same period last years, with the 3rd quarter’s results 32% higher over last year’s. Most of the Swiss employment provided by Novartis are jobs in Basel.

The pharmaceutical giant owes its resplendent financial fortunes to the effects of change as well as its global restructuring, in which more than 2500 jobs (mainly outside of Switzerland) were eliminated worldwide.

The multinational drug company, which contributes to the considerable amount of research and engineering work in Basel, has recently been launching an array of new medicines to counter the pressures from the increasing number of generic drugs competing with established Jobs in Basel - Pharmaceuticals - Novartis

pharmaceutical products. Over the last 9 months alone Novartis launched nearly 100 new drugs to offset the losses expected from generics competing with established patented medicines such as Diovan (for hypertension) which by itself is responsible for $5 billion in sales. Nonetheless, analysts say it will not be before 2010 that these new products will reach their full sales potentials. The increased revenue is expected to feed demand for increased research and development work in Switzerland.

Jobs in Basel - PharmaceuticalsAcross the Atlantic, where like its competitors, Novartis got the green light from the American FDA, sales have declined a modest 4%. But Novartis has offset these modest declines with huge gains in emerging economies (+17%) as well as in Europe where sales are up 7%.

Analysts have expressed a bullish attitude on Novartis, noteworthy especially in this period of market turbulence, and continue to recommend buying Novartis stock, considered to be a strong long term investment. Wegelin bank analysts say the stock is a ‘sure value,’ and some analysts see the stock rising above CHF 70.

For Basel, Novartis continues to provide a large number of jobs in Basel and to contribute substantially to tax revenues.

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Scarcity of Qualified Personnel for Jobs in Switzerland

Posted on 08 October 2008 by Hans-T

The demographics of the labor force are creating clouds on the horizon of work in Switzerland. In Switzerland a professional’s CV tend to peak at around 40 years old. Yet the demographic trend is increasingly toward and aging of the population.

At the Human Resources Congress in Berne, the demographic challenge was discussed and was one of the main debate themes of the meeting, which took place in Kursaal in late September and had over 500 attendees.

The lack of experts, specialists, and highly qualified personnel is an increasingly thorny problem in Switzerland, which has over the past few years opened up its once-closed labor market to the European Community. Despite the inflow of top professionals from neighboring France, from the UK, from Germany and Italy, and even from some of the Eastern European countries, Switzerland remains understaffed.

The management of several major personnel agencies have recently Swiss Recruitment Website - Jobs in Switzerland

remarked that the developing recession with bring a much needed respite to the labor shortage in Switzerland by slowing demand somewhat.

Currently, the penury of qualified workers in Switzerland is strongly felt in certain key professions such as specialists in I.T. / information technologies and engineering and technology experts. But demographics is not yet the cause. Other forces are in play, such as the decrease in desirability of certain trades and professions. According to the current thinking here, along with access to natural resources, access to the best human resources will be key to assuring one’s success in the global marketplace.

Human Resources officers in Switzerland say that the balance of power has shifted. Over the last decade, the tendency has been for employers to dictate their conditions on the labor market. But now the trend of work in Switzerland is for qualified specialists and experts to choose the position they want.

Switzerland has always looked abroad to satisfy its labor shortages but will not be able to do so as easily going forward. Other European countries such as Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands are also becoming attractive to top professionals.

At this writing, the government in Berne claims that Switzerland is lacking several thousand engineers, for whom jobs in Switzerland are waiting. At the same time, in Germany, the figure is close to 40,000 jobs.

The recruitment niches of the future are women and the elderly. There is also debate about pushing further out the retirement age. Seven out of ten workers in Switzerland are active between 50 and 64 years old. The proportion goes down steeply after age 60.

There is a culture in Switzerland of early retirement, which started in the age of restructurings, and which is no longer relevant to current labor force realities.

The trend now is for companies to make themselves as attractive as possible to top professionals, managers, specialists and innovators in order to more successfully compete for the top workers in Switzerland.

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Growth of Work in Switzerland – Jobs lack Personnel

Posted on 01 July 2008 by Hans-T

The workforce in Switzerland grew significantly in the first and second quarters of 2008. Switzerland is in particular need of wokers qualified in the building and construction fields and in Information Technology (I.T.).

The job market in Switzerland remains excellent and has even improved over the first two quarters of 2008, in spite of inflationary fears and worries over the general economy.

Job growth has been strong, there are generally more opportunities than qualified professionals to fill them, work in Switzerland continues to increase, pulling in experts from the surrounding EU countries and even globally.

According to a recent Manpower study, some sectors of the economy continue to show marked scarcities of qualified job seekers in Switzerland.

By contrast with the three months of last year, the workforce grew by IT Jobs in Switzerland

3% between January and march of 2008, to 4.5 million working professionals.

The strongest gains in annual job growth concerned the sectors of precision medical instruments and luxury watch making (which Work in Swiss Companiesshowed a gain of 7000 jobs, + 7.8%). Building and Construction also grew by 1.9% or 5700 jobs.

Health and Social Services also registered gains (+2.8% or 12,800 jobs) and services – particularly I.T. – rose 3.3% adding roughly 12,000 during the first quarter of the year.

In Switzerland, 36% of the 786 companies surveyed for the Manpower survey experienced problems recruiting qualified personnel. Our of 10 domains of activity affected by the scarcity of qualified professionals and educated work force, the economy lacks particularly qualified personnel in the building and construction industries – such as carpenters, electricians,… — as well as production workers and skilled technicians.

The lack of qualified technicians, particularly in the luxury watch making industries, such as micromechanics experts, constitutes a real threat to Swiss economic growth and future of work in Switzerland. Repercussions of the demographic changes in progress will aggravate further the current lack of qualified personnel in the coming years.

The report underlines the importance of professional training and continuing education, as well as facilitating the import and relocation of foreign professionals with key skills and talents in order to maintain the growth of Swiss industries and the quality of work in Switzerland.

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Employee Commitment at Work – Switzerland

Posted on 04 June 2008 by ThomasP

Contrary to perception, many employees and executives are ready and willing to commit themselves more fully in their companies. A study from consultancy Towers Perrin, which sampled 86,000 employees in 18 countries and examined motivations showed several surprising results. Within the overall study, 1000 people were interviewed from Switzerland during the 2007-2008 period, coming from companies ranging from 250 to 10,000 employees across different sectors of the economy.

The first myth dispelled by the study was that the employee motivation is principally dependent on the attitudes of and the employee’s relationship to direct line management.

The study found rather that the general management culture and organizational factors were preponderantly important. When the general management of a company is sound and sets an example showing it is sincerely concerned with the well-being of employees, this has a very strong influence on employee commitment to work and Employment opportunities - jobs - in Lugano, Switzerland

to the company. The study stresses that this is accomplished through acts and not by empty speeches.

In Switzerland, a major expectation of employees and executives was found to be management receptivity to new ideas, followed by a perceived influence on the decision making process in one’s domain of activity. In Switzerland, the perception of management preoccupation with employee’s well-being came in eighth place, Employment opportunities in Lugano, Switzerlandbehind such factors as rapid management reaction and clear management commitment to long term goals, reputation for financial stability and ability of management to elicit enthusiasm from staff.

The study grouped staff into 4 categories, from most committed to least committed. Switzerland had the highest rate of very committed staff (23% against 21% global average for the study). Switzerland also registered the highest rate of committed staff (50% against 41% for the global average). For Human Resources professionals its these two upper categories of ‘very committed’ and ‘committed’ on which they have to concentrate their efforts to retain and reinforce loyalty. The two lower categories of ‘disengaged’ and ‘very disengaged’ are considered as already lost by the HR professionals behind the study. HR services are advised not to spend excessive time on these two categories as much effort will wasted for few returns.

The study measured employee loyalty to the company by asking respondents if they intended to leave their current employment and if they were actively seeking another job. Among workers in Switzerland, the loyalty rate was very high: 38% of the employees polled had no intention of leaving their company, a figure much higher than the 33% global average. 37% responded that they were not looking to leave their job but would take into consideration another offer, for example from a headhunter. 11% responded that they were seeking another job.

The study points up to Swiss corporate Human Resources professionals that roughly half of employees working in Switzerland fall into the critical category of potentially leaving, lured by a more interesting opportunity elsewhere. Company HR needs to concentrate its attention on this pool to stave off exacerbated problems due to the penury of qualified personnel in Switzerland.

In Switzerland, the factors that explain the level of company loyalty are: satisfaction with and understand of company management decisions, possibilities for career development, and a good working relationship with the different departments within the company.

Another myth exploded by the study is that executives and workers in Switzerland are reluctant to devote themselves more to the company and are primarily motivated by salary. The study shows rather employees are ready to invest themselves more fully in a company if they feel a return for this investment, and that the return does not have to be financial, but can be in the form of vocational training or career advancement.

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Swiss Brain Deficit – Jobs in Switzerland

Posted on 13 November 2007 by ThomasP

According to leading economists and academics, the labor market is close to drying up and an influx of foreign workers will be necessary to mitigate the shortage of highly qualified professionals in Switzerland.

Professor Yves Fluckiger of the Employment Observatory spoke about the shortage of talent for the number of jobs in Switzerland at a conference yesterday in Lausanne, during which he highlighted the problem and proposed a variety of solutions.

The main sectors affected by the shortage of professionals are banking, finance, manual trades, and medicine, as well as several branches of I.T and telecoms. The situation has created an unusual number of job vacancies in Switzerland.

To understand the problem, one needs to analyze the supply and demand on the market as well as salary levels.

Over the past 10 years the evolution of demand from companies and employers has largely been determined by the economic climate and

by specialization of the economy, particularly in the tertiary sector. Switzerland has to a large extent opened up its job market to recruit qualified personnel for employment in Switzerland and the bilateral agreements with the European Union have created a certain migratory influx. Still, this has not been sufficient to meet the demand on the job market for recruitment in Switzerland of highly qualified staff in the key areas where shortages exist.

Swiss residents remain in the labor market beyond legal retirement age to greater extent than citizens of other European countries. The number of workers pursuing additional vocational or job training in Switzerland to update their skill sets is too small to meet the increasing demands of the market for new skills. Further, the brain drain toward large urban centers is progressing. Add to that the aging of the population and the lengthening of the period of time spent in studies, the practice of early retirement and phenomenon of part-time employment. There are not enough workers for the job vacancies in Switzerland.

Different policies need to put in place to deal with the shortages,

notably using more effectively local resources by lengthening the professional career (later retirements), raising the rate of employment among women, and the recruitment of specialists from around the world when necessary.

Further, another look at the modes of remuneration and pension plans, old age compensations and a better utilization of the pool of retired persons.

The debate examined as well the expansion of Swiss job training programs, continuing education, and changing or reorienting of career paths. Employers in Switzerland today place great value on professional experience acquired in a variety of jobs, whereas previously career advancement depended more on seniority and fidelity in the same position.

The result is a strong demand among Swiss employers for international candidates with a multilingual and multicultural background who have had a variety of professional experiences.

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Profits Rising in Geneva Financial Sector – More Swiss Jobs

Posted on 29 October 2007 by ThomasP

A recent survey of the principal actors in Geneva’s secretive banking sector has divulged a 15% rise in profits over previous projections concerning work in Switzerland in the banking sector.

The growth shown year-to-date in the banking sector in Geneva has surprised all observers, despite already rosy projections in the beginning of 2007.

Yesterday Ivan Pictet, president of the Fondation Genève Place Fincancière delivered the results, announcing a general profitability 15% higher than that previously expected, following the analysis of results from the first half of 2007 which show extraordinary growth. On the other hand, projections for 2008 environment of work in Switzerland remain prudent and reserved because of the strong cyclic behaviors of Geneva’s banking business, strongly linked to portfolio management and trade finance in raw materials.

The summer credit crisis doubtless threw some cold water on the expectations for the rest of the year, noted Mr. Pictet, but Geneva

nonetheless will experience growth more than double that of the rest of Switzerland.

In the detailed report, there were also other interesting data. Estate management will also close with a very profitable year, after experiencing 15% growth in 2006.

The net influx of funds is expected to progress 3%- 4% to the first semester of 2008. The new cash inflows are coming mainly from EU countries, a substantial portion from eastern Europe and some also from Russia and its neighboring states.

Another notable phenomenon is the potentially very financially interesting rise of investment banking activity in Geneva. The increase in investment banking stands in stark contrast to the flat activity (no increase whatsoever) of trade finance activity, despite the key importance of work in Geneva in raw materials trade, which trades over $1 trillion and is the most important financial center for trade in raw materials, ahead of London.

Geneva’s part of total world oil trade is roughly 33%. Geneva’s part of world grain trade is 30%, and that of chartered transport and shipping for raw materials 22%. 360 companies operate in Geneva within the Geneva Trading and Shipping Association with a volume of transactions over $500 billion.

The survey also noted a rise in salaries of more than 10%, representing 75% – 80% of the global costs of the banking industry. The rise was due in part to the increase in hiring for work in Switzerland (5%) as well as to bonuses paid in early 2007 based on profits in 2006.

The banking sector in Geneva is responsible for over $400 million in yearly tax receipts for the canton. The banks alone are responsible for 5000 – 10,000 jobs in the Geneva area.

The survey was conducted among 133 financial establishments in the Geneva area, of which 54 banks. Geneva has 141 banks, 634 independent portfolio managers, and 3000 intermediaries of various sorts. There is considerable work in Geneva for english-speaking professionals. The canton of Geneva has also 661 insurance companies, 1098 fiduciaries, and 350 law offices and notaries. Across the entire financial sector in Geneva there are roughly 35,000 jobs.

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