Archive | Workplace

Swiss resiliency ?

Posted on 27 December 2012 by Klebnikov

Signs indicate that previous Swiss resiliency to European troubles is now wearing off.

On the one hand, Swiss residents are caught between the hammer and anvil of dropping salaries (and higher unemployment) from cheaper labor entering Switzerland from neighboring EU countries and rising cost of living, principally from enormous inflation in housing costs, health insurance premiums, and transport costs. The result has been a steep decline in the standard of living of Swiss residents since the introduction of the bilateral agreements ushering in labor mobility and removal of border controls.

And the latter has also engendered substantial costs for middle and lower class residents, who bear the major impact of the steep increase in criminality.

The construction industry, which was doing well through most of 2012 has now slowed as banks are toughening their criteria for new real-estate loans. The Swiss National Bank’s maintenance of artificially low rates, combined with aggressive creation of new money (mainly to buy up euros and dollars to manipulate the Swiss Franc exchange rate) has fueled a real-estate asset bubble as investors seek to shelter liquid assets from the inflation caused by monetary policies.

Statistics from Q3 and Q4 of 2012 show continued increases in unemployment – where the term is defined as those unable to find employment – throughout the major urban areas.

The largest contraction in 2012 has been the financial and banking sector, hard hit by multiple assaults on banking secrecy and scandal. The sector continues to downsize and adapt to a new emerging paradigm.

The sector that continues to outperform in Switzerland is the luxury industry, with expensive watches and jewelry defying any possible strengthening of the Swiss Franc. The luxury sector added jobs during 2012 and is expected to continue to grow in 2013, a result of growing markets in Asia and emerging economies.

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Tags: bank jobs switzerland, cointrin office building, finance jobs geneva, financial careers hsbc, hsbc, jobs at HSBC, jobs in geneva, jobs in switzerland, l'oreal, polo ralph lauren, procter & Gamble, spg intercity

HSBC to move into new office complex at Geneva airport

Posted on 14 March 2009 by Mr Bureau

In Geneva, HSBC will be moving over 1000 of its employees to a new business center in Blandonnet near the Geneva Cointrin Airport, a new office complex which is expected to become an important concentration of jobs in the canton of Geneva.

Already several top brand name companies have set up offices there, among them Ralph Lauren, IBM, L’Oréal, and the TCS. HSBC will begin the big move next year. HSBC will thus be regrouping a total of 1300 jobs in the new complex. HSBC employs more than 2000 staff in Switzerland, of which approximately 1550 are located in Geneva.

One of the directors of HSBC Switzerland, Claude Brodard, remarked that every year, HSBC Switzerland has added between 150 and 200 new professional jobs. In 2008, which was a bad year for most, HSBC Switzerland grew by 17% over 2007.

HSBC Bank Switzerland to move in 2010Currently HSBC is spread out over 12 different sites in Geneva: there are 530 employees in the offices on rue de Lausanne, 210 more in the HSBC building on rue Montbrillant, 160 additional employees in the stately offices on quai General Guisan which look out over the lake, another 160 jobs are in the rue des Noirettes complex which also houses UBS, still another 140 jobs are located in the premises on quai Wilson on the Eaux Vives side of the lake, 130 workers are in other ‘main offices’ at rue Alfred Vincent, and finally another 300 employees are dispersed over offices at rue de la Synagogue, place Longemalle, quai Mont Blanc, rue du Rhone, and rue de la Navigation.

Pictet Bank had a similar problem years ago, which it solved by building a huge office complex in Acacias. Mirabaud also consolidated, regrouping all its jobs in one premises one Plainpalais.

Evidently, HSBC’s decision to move over a 1000 jobs to the new Blandonnet center near the airport has overjoyed the developers RI Realim, who had considerable difficulties filling it. The 30,000 square meter center is now headquarters for companies like Gillete, Procter & Gamble, Verisign, Bacardi, and some NGO’s.

The third building of the center – the one in which HSBC will move – has not yet been completed. Already 75% rented by its agent SPG Intercity, the new building housing HSBC will also be home to L’Oréal, which is regrouping 200 jobs there. Transocean – the American oil drilling firm—will be settling its career professional in the same building.

The new office center will house a total of 4500 workers, meaning Blandonnet will extend over more than 85,000 square meters. The center is putatively equipped with high tech cabling infrastructure, as well as modern central heating and ventilation, which means windows that don’t open.

Apparently HSBC HQ in London carefully studied the proposal, worried over the proximity of the huge oil storage drums nearby, one of which exploded in 2005, but they concluded that there was no danger. Beginning in mid 2010, HSBC’s staff will move to the new premises, which can accommodate up to 1270 employees. The Bank is said to have paid between CHF 500-600 the square meter for the new office space, which means a yearly rental price of roughly CHF 10 million, a lot of money for offices with windows you can’t open. The Bank expects to economize at least 10% in comparison with current costs attendant on 12 dispersed office locations.

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Tags: citizens, Crisis, Economy, employment, Europe, freedom, graduates, job, jobs, labor, market, middle class, movement, professional, swiss, trade, vote

Vote on 8 February, EU or not ?

Posted on 15 January 2009 by Gaffer

Fears around the employment market will play a significant role in the vote on 8 February. Despite the support of economy and trade unions, the “yes” to freedom of movement is now doubt in the middle class of Switzerland that the influx of skilled workers worried.

Entry into force in 2002, expanded in 2005, the free movement of people has changed the Swiss labor market.

According to the latest barometer of employment published in late November by the Federal Statistical Office (SFO), Switzerland had, 3rd quarter 2008, 1.3% of employed more than a year earlier.

An increase resulting primarily from the increased number of foreign workers (+4.0%), the Swiss number increased only slightly (0.4%).

Absorbed by an economy operating at full capacity in recent years, the European workforce has also diversified.

Gone is the cliché of the Portuguese bricklayer, now 58% of workers who come to settle in Switzerland are graduates, against 36% in 1997.

But what happens on the Swiss labor market during this financial crisis?

EU and bilateral votation in Switzerland

This fear haunts now also the middle class, traditionally more open to Europe.

In the latest survey of the institute devoted to gfs.berne popular vote on February 8, and it appeared that his position was “the reluctance of the refusal.” What political scientist Claude Longchamp explained by the presence of increasingly skilled foreign workers.
A study by the Center for Business Cycle Research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (KOF) shows that between 2002 and 2007, gross domestic product (GDP) in Switzerland recorded an annual increase of 0.16% above what would have happened without the agreement. The same study also indicates that the movement did not decrease the level of nominal wages, or increase the rate of unemployment among the Swiss.
But the assumption that European workers are the first affected by the crisis in Switzerland seems to be confirmed. In November, the net migration fell by 28% compared to the previous month. The fall was particularly marked in Germany (-40%), which are the most numerous among EU citizens to seek their professional happiness on the Swiss market of employment.

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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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Jobs in Switzerland: Swiss Workplace Etiquette

Posted on 15 August 2007 by LegalBeagle

Mastering Swiss etiquette is key to finding work in Switzerland and is important for keeping your job : it’s an insurance policy for longevity and escaping corporate downsizings, re-sizings, or political reshuffles. The Swiss economy is booming and there lots of openings for foreign nationals to work in Switzerland.

After finding a job in Switzerland, here are some pointers for keeping one’s Swiss employment.

1. In the Swiss workplace, try to like your colleagues. Look for aspects that you can respect in your co-workers and colleagues. In the Swiss corporate world, avoid sending negative signals: communicating that you don’t like people will most likely result in their not liking you either. In Swiss companies and Swiss-based multinationals, bad feeling in workplace poisons the work environment, promote intrigues, and can result in one’s losing one’s job. Job performance in Switzerland is always partly judged based on behavioral aspects.

2. Communicate often with your manager. In Switzerland, expectations for employees are usually spelled out and performance reviews are held on a regular basis. Make sure that your supervisor knows you understand your role and his/her role. Finding and keeping your job in Switzerland depends on a good, clear communication channel with your boss, who sees you as a cooperative employee on the same wavelength. The Swiss workplace is much more understated and discreet than in North America. In Switzerland, there
is typically a job description or ‘cahier des charges.’ There may be a gray area around your job description – areas in which you may be expected to lend a hand. Try to conclude your regular performance reviews with a document, as clearly as possible outlining what is expected of you on the job and how you will be judged on the work you produce. Employment practices in Switzerland place great importance on the setting of expectations and then a performance review after 6-12 months to examine to what extent those job performance objectives were met.

3. The Swiss workplace often has a small but important social component. On the job, try to avoid refusing
invitations to socialize. In Switzerland, when you’re asked to join supervisor or co-workers at a social event, remember that avoiding these events can give your colleagues the feeling that you’re above socializing with the group, and can result in your being isolated on the job. Working in Switzerland, use social events with work or job-related colleagues as an opportunity for networking.

4. Keeping one’s job can be a matter of being liked: make your co-workers feel good about themselves — appreciate their work where you can, and where relevant, praise them publicly.

5. Promoting yourself at work (and assuring that you keep your job) can also be helped along by increasing the esteem in which your colleagues hold you. Don’t violate confidences. In Switzerland, people often gossip in the workplace, and if you become known as the person people can trust, your stock will skyrocket.

6. Don’t refuse an assignment where you can help it. Even if it’s not in your job description, helping out when you can raises you in the general esteem. That said, you might need to avoid letting an especially lazy colleague offload his work on you.

7. If you were recruited by a specific employee or hiring manager, make sure they know you are grateful.

8. Know your supervisor’s expectations. You are responsible for your work, and it is your job to understand what your boss wants from you. If what is expected of you is unclear, get confirmation of assignments.

9. Never speak ill of your company. Comments always get back and make you look bad, lowering you in the management’s esteem and often also in your colleague’s esteem. Your office may not be perfect, but you don’t want to be the person bad-mouthing the company.

10. If you’re unhappy, do not broadcast it at work. Even if you’re looking for another job, avoid at all costs making it public knowledge. That way your job search will not become a full-time proposition.

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Employment at Hospitality Schools

Posted on 24 February 2007 by pit

International Hotel School in Lausanne In most countries hotel management is part of a more general program or set of programs at universities. In contrast, Switzerland has entire schools which are dedicated to training students to take up demanding work in the hospitality and tourism industries. The coursework undertaken in these programs usually includes both practical and theoretical training. The schools further then require internships in industry, leading up to their professional careers. The major Swiss hotel magagement institutions run actual hotels themselves that both provide students with their own accomodation and then also serve as an on-campus laboratory providing students with a total hotel immersion experience.

Wide range of Employment possibilities
These Swiss hotel schools employ staff for various positions such as lecturers and operational staff or receptionists, coordinators for student internships, or even librarians.

To work in the operations and administration department —for example as a chef preparing meals for the in-house restaurants, or as a duty manager, etc.— both experience and references are required.

Lecturers have responsibilities for language courses –teaching French, German, or English– or various subject matter relating to the hospitality industrys, the nature of which might bring a smile to those with diplomas in Chemistry or Sociology: course titles such as “wine and spirits,” “general housekeeping,” “food preparation,” “banqueting,” etc.

In order to be a credible candidate for a teaching position in the Swiss hospitality industry, one usually has to hold a degree from a Hotel School and have at least 3 years of experience in the hospitality field, as well as several years teaching experience. A good strategy to get an interview with the academic dean is to highlight your experience in supervisory roles as well as in client contact, and demonstrate a strong familiary with industry technologies.

Instructors at Hotel Schools usually have thirty or more students in a class, though practical classes tend to be smaller and come with assistants. Hotel Schools in Switzerland often expect teachers to design new classes so you should be prepared to come with your own ideas.

The trend at Hotel schools has been toward a diminution of full-time permanent positions and a marked increase in the number of part-time contract positions, which are repeatedly renewed if the teacher is well-appreciated. Usually such renewals lead to a permanent position.

Salaries average around CHR 5,000 / month for full time teaching positions. While this is a fine salary for a single person, and is more than enough to cover living expenses and even generate savings, it is, comparatively speaking, not very well remunerated. The hospitality industry, along with nursing, are among the poorly paid professions in Switzerland. (Of course, the general managers of large hotels, as well as highly sought-after restaurant chefs, are well paid, but if you are reading this article, it is statistically unlikely you are among them.)

Those who enter the hospitality industry tend to be attracted by the lifestyle rather than the financial rewards: for the prestige of being associated with an illustrious institution, or for the beauty of their surroundings, or for the cameraderie anad social activities with their fellow staff.

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Overview of Swiss Labor Laws

Posted on 12 February 2007 by LegalBeagle

The Employment contract between the employer and employee sets down the working relationship in writing.
The law does not foresee any special form for this contract, but there are a few important points of an employment contract:

>> the trial period may not exceed 3 months
>> the employment contract contain any ‘immoral’ or illegal tasks
>> the period of notice must be clearly stated

The General Labour Agreement (GLA) is a contract between employer(s) or their representatives and employees’ federations or trade unions and governs employment relationships. A GLA is relevant when employees and employers belong to affiliated federation or trade union or if its applicability has been agreed in some other way.

If the GLA has been declared generally binding by the competent authority, it is applied for the relevant branch irrespective of federation or trade union membership and only provisions that are more favourable for the employee may be included in the individual employment contract.

A limited employment contract, of a duration defined by both contracting parties expires at the end of the period agreed. Generally, this type of contract cannot be terminated in advance.

An unlimited employment contract (the duration of which is not fixed) may be terminated by one of the two parties taking accout of the period of notice stipulated in the contract and the date for giving such notice. The notice period is 7 days during the 3-month trial period, then one month. After 1 year, the notice period becomes 2 months. After 5 years, it becomes 3 months. If requested, the party giving notice must give written reasons for his decision.

Minimum Wage
A statutory minimum wage does not exist in Switzerland, though some GLA’s stipulate minimum wages for certain sectors (such as the hotel industry). According to law, employeees are entitled to specially indexed remuneration for night or weekend work, as well as work on public holidays.

In Switzerland there is still a certain holdover of the principle of ‘seniority.’ Nonetheless, things are gradually moving to a system of results-oriented remuneration both in the private sector and (of course more slowly) in the public sector. There remain appreciable discrepancies between women’s and men’s wages for the same level of professional qualifications.

Working Hours
Legally, the maximum working time is 45 hours a week for industrial and white collar employees — office staff,
technical personnel and other employees, including sales assistants in large retail businesses. For other salaried persons, the maximum is supposed to be 50 hours.

Vacation Allotments
By law the minimum entitlement is fixed at four weeks for employees and apprentices over 20 years of age.

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Workplace Sexual Harassment

Posted on 09 February 2007 by LegalBeagle

Switzerland is moving into the modern age of workplace legislation and enforcement.

Much less litigious than the United States, Switzerland does not have big-money tort cases and, as a rule, corporate entities get away with a lot.

A sign of the changing times is the recent judgement in the Geneva courts–first of its kind– for sexual harassment brought by a married male executive against his female director. The middle-age executive, who had accepted an executive role at a courrier company, arrived to discover his lady boss was was recently divorced and excessively attentive.

Over the ensuing six months, she became more and more attentive. The executive was definitively not interested. His boss’s response was to fire him.

In the first case of its kind — a male to claim workplace sexual harassment by a female superior– the executive was awarded slightly less than $100,000.

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