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Switzerland Sees Slow Job Growth Ahead

Posted on 02 November 2008 by ThomasP

According to diverse institutes and Swiss research centers, Switzerland will enter recession in 2009. The Créa – a macroeconomic institute based in Lausanne — is predicting growth of –0.6% for 2009. The Créa analyzed the deceleration of the economies in the USS and continental Europe and concluded that if emerging economies have so far avoided the consequences of the global financial crisis, they will not continue to do so for long.

Their opinions are not unanimously shared. The BAK and the KOF are predicting anemic growth of .7% and .3% respectively. The Seco – the federal government’s organism – has predicted growth of ‘less than 1%’. Credit Suisse analysts are predicting growth of roughly 1%, and UBS analysts say that growth in Switzerland in 2009 will be roughly 0.2%. (Whatever growth there may be, all commentators agree that is unlikely that UBS will contribute anything to it.)

The Swiss economy will take a big hit in 2009, say analysts, due to strong drops in exports, as well as to the inexorable rise of the Swiss franc, as flight from less fiscally reliable currencies creates a run up in the national currency. The decline in exports and the ensuing decline in company order Seco Building Switzerland

books is likely to result in more unemployment and less consumer spending, meaning that jobs in Switzerland may be fewer and work may be less well paid.

Pundits say that the economy will not return to health until 2010, when growth is expected to rise above 0.5% and job growth should recur (the BAK predicts 1.7% growth for 2010). The optimism for 2010 is partly attributed to the Swiss Federal Government’s generous gift of more than $60 billion of public money to UBS, to stave off their bankruptcy and prop up their ledgers, in return for which the public will have a claim on just under 10% of the Bank’s stock should they return to health.
Economists and commentators are deducing that if the Federal Government is willing to hand over in cash about 20% of the entire market capitalization of UBS in return for 10% of the stock, this must mean that Swiss government is willing to spend prodigally to get the country out of the crisis.

The other signs that are encouraging analysts is the real estate market, which has so far been largely spared of a large speculative bubble, and Swiss industry.
The same analysts now conclude that the financial sector, which previously provided a large percentage of work in Switzerland, will decline to roughly 2% of Swiss jobs by the end of next year. For the Lausanne – Geneva axis, the BAK predicts a growth of 1.9% this year and 0.7% in 2009. According to the same analysts, jobs in the luxury watch industry will continue to grow due to new demand from emerging economies, though the growth will be less dramatic than the double digit growth experienced over the preceding years.

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Tags: Add new tag, Economy, Geneva, jobs, remuneration, Salaries, switzerland, work

Geneva has disproportionate numbers of jobs in Switzerland

Posted on 14 October 2008 by ThomasP

The canton of Geneva occupies 0.6% of the surface area of Switzerland but employs roughly 8% of the salaried Work force in Switzerland and is responsible for a gross product of roughly $ 35 billion, roughly 8% of the Swiss GDP.

As to jobs, Geneva has practically a world record with approximately 2 jobs for three inhabitants (For a total population of about 450,000 there are 297,000 Jobs in Geneva). There are also roughly 75,000 cross border workers who work in Switzerland but live in neighboring France or Germany or Italy.

According to the Geneva Cantonal Bank’s statistics, the average salary in Geneva has continued to rise. During the 90’s, Geneva salaries were less than those in Zurich. However salaries in Geneva have now outstripped salaries in Zurich, with the average salary in Geneva now roughly CHF 6350, approximately 15% higher than the Swiss average, and about CHF 100 higher than Zurich’s average. The high average salaries for jobs in Geneva is largely explainable by the Jobs in Geneva Switzerland

high proportion of jobs in private banks, jobs in trading companies, and jobs in the financial services industries, all of which pull the salary statistics higher. Roughly 10% of workers in Geneva have salaries higher than CHF 12,400 per month.

Geneva is also the canton with the most glaring discrepancies between high salaries and low salaries.

In Geneva 85% of the small and medium size companies employ fewer than 10 persons. But over a third of the corporate landscape in Geneva (measured by number of jobs) is large multinational companies. Among the large employers of Geneva are the banks – UBS, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Pictet, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, Deutsche Bank,… – and then there are the luxury brands, and other multinationals, such as Rolex (4000 jobs), Proctor and Gamble (2500 jobs), Firmenich (1600 jobs), The Richemont Group (1400 jobs), Patek Philippe (1200 jobs), Merck Serono (1000 jobs), Givaudan (800 jobs), Chopard (700 jobs), Japan Tobacco (600 jobs), Franck Muller(600 jobs) and Du Pont(600 jobs).

The luxury watch industry alone brings in over $1 billion in annual revue to the canton of Geneva.

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Living in France, Italy, or Germany, but Working in Switzerland

Posted on 15 August 2008 by Hans-T

The workforce of commuting workers who live in neighboring France, Germany, Italy, or Austria but work in Switzerland has grown by nearly 30% over the past 5 years.

There are currently nearly 250,000 foreigners working in Switzerland and living across the border in one of Switizerland’s neighboring countries.

In only the past year, the number of border workers with jobs in Switzerland has risen roughly 6%. Foreigners working in Switzerland but living across the border are hold ‘G’ permits to work in Switzerland.

According to the Federal Office of Statistics, the majority of these workers hold jobs in industry, though a sizable portion occupy jobs in banking or jobs in the luxury watch industry.

The strongest rise in workers living in neighboring countries and commuting to jobs in Switzerland was in the region around lake

Geneva, which rose nearly 60%, followed by the region around Zurich, which rose by 35%. In Ticino, the rise was nearly 30%.

The country distribution of these foreign workers has not changed appreciably in the five year period. Well over half live in France, with approximately 20% living in Italy, another 20% in Germany, and the remainder in Austria.

Foreigners who live in neighboring countries but commute to jobs in Switzerland hold ‘G’ permits. Any citizens from the European Community have a right to such a permit.

The number of such workers in Switzerland has shown a particularly steep rise (+40% from 2003-2008) in the tertiary sector, with the chemical industry showing strong increases (+20%) and medical instruments and precision optics and luxury watchmaking showing increases of roughly 20%.

Europeans also have the right to exercise an independent activity – that is, to be self-employed– in Switzerland. Geneva currently has approximately 500 self-employed professionals who live in Neighboring France. There are somewhere on the order of 100o non-resident independents working at jobs in Switzerland.

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Jobs in Chaux-de-Fonds – Working in Switzerland

Posted on 14 April 2008 by ThomasP

The watch making city of Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchatel has too many jobs. Many of the jobs are taken by foreigners working in Switzerland and commuting from nearby France.

The economy of Chaux-de-Fonds, in the canton of Neuchatel, is booming, showing a 2007 growth of almost 5% in jobs for over the preceding year. In 2006, roughly 1000 new jobs were created in this small watchmaking town.

Currently there roughly 25,000 jobs in Chaux-de-Fonds, of which 6100 are in watchmaking.

Of the work in Switzerland, a substantial part of the jobs in Chaux-de-Fonds are taken by border workers (‘frontaliers’) – workers actually living in neighboring France who commute across the border to work in Switzerland. The practice engenders a certain amount of local hostility. Between 2006 and 2007, the number of commuters rose by more (about a 1000) than the increase in jobs.

Jobs in chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchatel, Switzerland

The residents of Chaux-de-Fonds wonder whether their strong economy is profiting only workers living in neighboring France and coming across the border to work in Switzerland. The city president in charge of the economy (Socialist Laurent Kurth) organized recently a press conference to show that this perception is largely an exaggeration. He cited figures showing that the number of jobs occupied by border workers had risen by roughly 500, and that the rise was proportionally less steep than the increases noted from other regions of Neuchatel where there are higher concentrations of nonresident foreigners working in Switzerland.

Working in Neuchatel, Switzerland

in Chaux-de-Fonds, border workers hold 16% of the jobs, against 14.6% in 2006. Between 1990 and 2007, the number of commuters doubled, going from 5000 to 10,000. In the same time, border workers rose 80%. Their importance, according to city officials, has therefore declined. That fact, however, goes strongly against the perceptions of the resident population, who feel that jobs in Work in Chaux-de-Fonds -  SwitzerlandSwitzerland are being squandered on nonresidents. Chaux-de-Fonds nonetheless is managing extremely well, despite numerous workers from neighboring France pouring across the border to take jobs in Switzerland. Over the past few years, the unemployment rate has continually decreased. As of February 2008, the jobless rate was roughly 4%. When one considers only the fields of highly educated professionals (biomedical, information systems, engineering, managerial…) there is too much work in Switzerland for the available supply of career professionals to assume the vacant jobs.

To deal with the ‘frontalier’ question, the authorities are trying instead to convince these border workers to move into the community of Chaux-de-Fonds. The population of Chaux-de-Fonds is currently about 37,000. In 1967 the population of Chaux-de-Fonds was 43,000. The tiny city has an image problem. From the rest of Neuchatel, the mountainous Chaux-de-Fonds are perceived as an austere industrial region with nasty winter weather. The city government is publishing a brochure enumerating all the advantages for a border worker working in Switzerland but currently living in neighboring France to entice him to move and establish himself in Chaux-de-Fonds. The brochure highlights the city’s quality of life, its amenities, and natural surroundings and high quality, inexpensive housing.

For a commuter living in Neuchatel, travel to work amounts to six full days of a year and costs 5640 francs. A border worker commuting from, say, Besançon, spends 29.5 days in his car per year and spends a total of 26,420 francs.

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Filling Professional Jobs in Switzerland

Posted on 01 February 2008 by ThomasP

In the beginning of 2008, the scarcity of qualified personnel for jobs in Switzerland has deepened.

Thousands of specialists for key jobs in Switzerland are lacking the fields of I.T., banking, medical services, trading, as well as mechanical engineering, construction, and the hotel industry.

I.T. specialists, watchmakers, engineers in the pharmaceutical industry, mechanics, or even nurses – professional qualifications are worth gold in Switzerland. Switzerland is currently experiencing its worst labor crisis in decades, with severe shortages of qualified personnel in several key sectors of the economy and a record number of unfilled jobs.

Charles Belaz of Manpower Switzerland say succinctly, ‘the labor market is, in effect, extremely tight.’

An executive at Adecco adds, In general, all professions are affected when it’s a question of looking for highly qualified candidates for jobs in Switzerland.

Jobs for I.T. specialists - Swiss labor shortage

As a result, candidates currently have the upper hand in the process.

Top qualified candidates can choose between many possibilities say a recruiter with Curriculum SA, a company active in searching for qualified executives and professionals in service sector jobs in Geneva.

What are the professions and sectors the most affected ?

jobs in Switzerland - hot economy requires specialists

I.T. specialists are among the most hard to find and vigorously sought according to the administrators of some of the popular job recruitment websites in Switzerland.

“It’s not a new phenomenon,” notes Yves Fluckiger of the Employment Observatory, “but has simply become more and more serious with the expansion of the economy in the sectors of high technologies and information systems and communications.”

The shortage of candidates for jobs in Switzerland is made even more acute because so many large Swiss based companies are currently seeking to implement the same enterprise software systems like SAP and Oracle. And the I.T. field has also lost a lot of its luster in Switzerland over the past few years, attracting far fewer students in the Swiss universities.

Meanwhile, more and more multinationals are relocating to Switzerland for its infrastructure and its tax advantages.

The watch making industry is also hard hit by the shortage of qualified professionals – the situation is exacerbated by the explosion of the market for luxury watches. The Employment Observatory says the difficulties are of a structural nature: the Patronal Society of Watchmakers demonstrated that the expectations for current training of new professionals from now to 2010 will result in 2164 new watchmakers for the Swiss marketplace. While waiting for these future graduates to fill vacant jobs, the luxury watch companies must face the current labor shortage with recruitment abroad or hiring from the unemployment rolls.

Then there is nursing and the hotel industry. The demographic explosion in Switzerland has created a severe lack of nurses and paramedical personnel. The hotel industry has long suffered a lack of qualified professionals; the field is known for its low salaries and difficult working conditions.

The labor market is simply completely dry, according to Manpower executives in Switzerland, and notably in the domains of pharmaceutical, medical technologies, and I.T. specialties. Today, says Manpower, the only solution to filling jobs in Switzerland is to recruit outside of Switzerland.

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Piaget enlarges its Plant in Geneva

Posted on 30 November 2007 by Papessa

Built in 2001, Piaget is already enlarging its manufacturing plant in Plan-les-Ouates in Geneva, because its business is growing too fast. The current space cannot absorb the growth and an extension of an additional 850m2 is planned for summer 2008. This will no doubt translate into additional requirement for qualified staff across several hiring domains of luxury watch making.

In only 6 years the Piaget enterprise has grown considerably into a major manufacturing facility, according to Philippe Léopold-Metzger. Piaget is already a major employer in the Geneva area.

Piaget has ridden the wave of the boom in the emerging economies in which the nouveau riche have been purchasing luxury brands at an astounding pace.

Piaget is part of the Richemont group of brands and Richemont is experiencing a period of great profitability across all its brands. 2007 is shaping up to be an exceptional year for the company, which has work in switzerland luxury industries - extension to Piaget site

both luxury watch brands and jewelry brands.

Jewelry has become a veritable brand exercise, with companies already enjoying a legitimacy in this sector seeing their profits go through the roof.

This has proved a windfall for Piaget, which was already benefiting from the ebullient markets for luxury watches across the world.

Careers in SwitzerlandThe 5000m2 of space for thee Piaget Manufacture thus no longer can absorb the growth in staff resulting from the company’s expansion. There are already 360 staff working at the Geneva facility in Plan-les-Ouates and roughly 30 new jobs are created every year so far.

The new job profiles that will undoubtedly be sought once the extension is made next summer will be in the areas of product development, marketing, training, and technical fields in the production of watches and jewelry. The space additions will be largely attributed to office space (rather than workshop space).

The extension work has been going on for more than 3 months and coincides with another Piaget project going on at the rue du Rhone, where the company has its prestigious boutique. By spring time the Geneva boutique will be redone from top to bottom and furnished with an additional surface of 180m2 comprising notably a VIP salon. Piaget envisions also to install an audiovisual space retracing and displaying the creations of the over 40 trades encompassed by the Piaget company, employing thematic exhibits and presentation pieces from private collections.

Piaget’s spokesman says that in just a few years, their network of 51 boutiques has become an important source of growth.

Even the strong Euro seems to have had no effect on the growth of Switzerland luxury brands, and they continue to inundate the labor market with demands for top quality marketing, sales, branding, logistics, and technical professionals. Job seekers in such fields as watch making or jewel setting or branding strategy find a seller’s market for their skills on the Swiss job market.

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Switzerland seeks qualified Engineers, Technicians, and Financial Services Experts

Posted on 07 November 2007 by ThomasP

The number of job vacancies in Switzerland is well into the thousands – even with recruitment across the EU countries, finding qualified experts for the professional job vacancies has become problematic.

Not a week goes by without an alarming publication or article from some organization representing a particular sector of the Swiss economy.

A few days ago it was the turn of the mechanical engineering association to decry the severe lack of mechanical engineers on the Swiss and EU markets, creating a bottleneck in the Swiss labor market and braking growth in the high tech sector.

Every year, more than 1200 employees leave the industries’ companies and only 700 apprentices enter the field for training. In face of the severe lack of mechanical engineers, which underpin a variety of key, very profitable Swiss industries (like the luxury watch industry) the sector’s organizations started sounding the alarm a while back.

The situation is even more incomprehensible in view of the fact the sector is doing extremely well – the lack of ‘interest’ among students for this field baffles the sector’s analysts, reports the secretary general of the Groupement Suisse de l’Industrie Méchanique (GIM).

According to a recent survey by the GIM for the microtechnical and precision instruments branch, four out of ten companies have directors or upper level executives over 60 years old, which shows, according to the GIM, that a large number of mid-sized companies are doomed to disappear unless they find buyers within the next 10 years.

Informed estimates place the labor shortage in the mechanical engineering sector at roughly 10,000 persons.

Specifically, in the Watch Industry, the frenetic search for qualified professionals for jobs in the luxury watch brands has already depleted the neighboring European labor pool.

According to the Convention Patronale de L’industrie Horlogère

(CPIH), the job market is extremely tight. It’s reached a point that the CPIH has formed an alliance with Adecco to train 2200 young watch makers between now and 2010. The Swiss recruitment leader Adecco is prospecting among the Swiss Hautes Ecoles to find potential candidates who want to learn the trade.

The labor shortage goes well beyond highly qualified I.T. specialists, financial experts, scientists, or watch makers: according to Manpower, there is a terrible shortage of artisans, and construction workers, masons, carpenters, plumbers and electricians – to such a point that it is now difficult to find staff even extending one’s search across the EU.

The banking and financial sector are particularly badly hit by the shortage of qualified employees. The director of Genève Place Financière said that the Geneva banks created more than 2000 new jobs last year and nearly half of them went to foreigners. Financiers, economists, bankers…. The private banks as well as commercial banks, financial services organizations, trading companies, and others need more qualified staff to meet the demands of continued growth in their companies.

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Luxury Watch Recruitment – Jobs at Patek Philippe

Posted on 11 October 2007 by Papessa

The luxury watch making sector is continuing its meteoric rise with profits continuing to increase as the world’s wealthy seek out expensive products to spend their money on.

One luxury watch manufacturer, PATEK PHILIPPE, a prestigious brand based in Geneva with an illustrious history making expensive precision watches, is currently seeking to hire so many professionals they needed a full page advertisement this week to list them all. Their largest offices in Geneva are in Plan-les-Ouates.

Among the roles they are trying to recruit for are:

Master Watchmakers skilled in ‘Complications.’ They are seeking to recruit several master watchmakers, who have CFC Watch making certifications or something equivalent and at least 5 years of experience assembling complex high-end watches. The sort of experts they want to hire master the precision design and assembly of high caliber micromechanics and movements.

Junior Watchmakers, who have a CFC certificate or equivalent and at least 2 years of experience assembling high-end watches.

Finishers and Assemblers who are skilled at finishing watch chassis, boxes and high-end bracelets. These professionals should have 5 years of experience working with precious metals or gems like gold and platinum and be skilled at finishing, polishing, and table mounted stonecutting.

Micromechanics are also being sought – professionals with a CFC in micromechanics and a strong experience in working with conventional or digital machinery. They should have solid experience working with the manufacture of watch components for movements.

Methodologists with a diploma ET en mechanics as well as 3 years of experience in a similar position. Possessed of an analytical mind and a mastery of I.T. tools in CAD and CAMM, the candidates they are seeking will be able to modify or create procedures and plans for the necessary operations to the manufacture of components of watch movements.

The Methods Officers will take part in the industrialization of new products as well as new procedures. A knowledge of Quality Control is very important.

All interested candidates for any of the above positions may inquire or apply to the address below. Note that Patek Philippe is a prestigious employer and is very demanding as to the character of those they hire: meticulous, precise, autonomous, working well in a team as well as independently…. The company routinely offers internal training on its movements and calibers, as well as providing flextime work conditions. They are an equal opportunity employer. Applicants should (indicate what opening they are applying for and) send along with their CV a letter of motivation, copies of their diplomas and work certificates to Monsiuer M. Nicod, Ressources Humaines, PATEK PHILIPPE, Case Postale 2654, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland, or by email to

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