Jobs in the Swiss Luxury Industries Remain Unfilled

Posted on 05 July 2007 by Papessa

The Swiss luxury industry is growing at a rapid pace and continuing to increase Swiss employment opportunities and create work in Switzerland.

Recently the Swiss Watch Industry decided that at least 80 per cent of the production costs for mechanical watches must be attributable to operations in Switzerland in order to affix the attribution ‘Swiss-Made.’ For electronic watches, the percentage will be set at 60 per cent. This rate is spelled out in the free-trade agreement between Switzerland and the European Union. Exempted from the agreement are raw materials, precious stones and batteries. In the future, the agreement stipulates, technical construction and prototype development must also be carried out in Switzerland.

Previous regulations required that only 50 per cent of costs be incurred in Switzerland and the Federation spokesman Jean-Daniel Pasche said the Federation was convinced that the Swiss Made label needed to be strengthened.

work in Switzerland - Swiss luxury industry

The world’s largest manufacturer, Swatch Group, declared that they were pleased that the decision was also supported by small watchmakers. Swatch president Nicolas Hayek recently commented in an interview with Le Temps that current standards had created too much opportunity for fraudulent practices. He said the revision was necessary for authenticity and credibility.

Swiss luxury watch manufacturers are enjoying steady growth in markets and profits and have not been able to recruit all the qualified professionals they need to respond to demand.

The luxury watch industry now employs close to 50,000 people. Three quarters of watch industry staff are employed in workshops and the majority of industry personnel are employed in production. Administrative and organizational tasks are currently performed by 25% of personnel in charge of administration management posts.

Of particular interest and importance to the sector’s leaders is that the level of training of production personnel is rising steadily. Since the Swiss watchmaking industry is very upscale, highly qualified personnel are of key importance. Over 15% production personnel have higher education and over 40% hold a vocational diploma (a Swiss CFC or equivalent foreign qualification). Still, semi-qualified or unqualified workers now account for roughly half of production personnel and 40.0% of all employees. The proportion of men and women employed in the watch industry is about equal.

Meanwhile the proportion of men and women employed in the watch industry is almost perfectly balanced, with 24,107 male workers (54.2%) and 20,337 female workers (45.8%).

The watch industry’s workforce is mainly concentrated in the Jura Arc region, with most of watch manufacturers present in this area. The seven cantons comprising what is referred to as the “watchmaking region” have a combined total of over 40,000 employees, with the canton of Neuchâtel having the highest number of jobs in watchmaking with over 12,000 jobs and nearly 200 companies. Geneva is a key center for high-end luxury watch production, with the most prestigious brands like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis, and others based there.

Competition among the luxury watch makers for qualified personnel is stiff with many companies raiding their competitors’ personnel.

For those seeking work in Switzerland, the luxury industry is one of the tightest labor markets with numerous jobs remaining unfilled. A number of websites and recruiting agencies have opened recently catering specifically to the recruiting needs of the luxury industry.


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