Working in Switzerland
In spite of the current global economic crisis which has severely hit the Eurozone, Switzerland has a low unemployment rate, a relatively stable economy and continues to attract international professionals, particularly in specialised high-technology, information technology and financial services. About 70% of employment in Switzerland is in the services sector (Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office). Small- to medium-sized enterprises with 250 or fewer employees dominate, employing two-thirds of the workforce.
Applying for a job in Switzerland can be a complex and daunting process in the beginning. Presentation and support of claims to experience, skills and education are important. In a competitive market, your job application must stand out from the rest and convey a positive image. It is expected that a comprehensive curriculum vitae/resume complete with all supporting documents and references is provided, along with a letter of motivation, which can be the key to being granted an interview. Of course, luck, timing, patience and tenacity will play important roles in finding a job in Switzerland.
Looking for work in Switzerland – where to start
Is your profession in demand in Switzerland? The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO provides detailed information about the current status of the economy.
- Do you have a residence permit?
- Do you have a work permit?
- Most companies and organisations have a jobs link on their websites.
- Have you had your foreign diplomas recognised by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)?
- If you went to university in a foreign country, the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) will assess and acknowledge your qualifications according to Swiss norms, which are aligned to the Bologna agreement.
- What are the language requirements for your prospective job? You may need to have your curriculum vitae/resume, covering letter and reference letters translated.
- Have you contacted the Regional Employment Centre (RAV) in your canton? The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) oversees these public employment offices nationally, and supports the job search process.
- Have you registered with a recruitment agency? Recruitment agencies advise on how to write applications for the Swiss job market, ensure you have all necessary documentation (i.e. certificate copies, motivation letter, written references), and assist with preparation for the job interview.
- Would you like to work in an international organisation? The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) offers advice on current job opportunities in Switzerland.
- The Centre for Information, Counselling and Training for Professions (CINFO) is a specialised service in partnership with FDFA that supports those interested in a career with international or non-governmental organisations.
- State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has additional information and resources.
- The best known job portals in Switzerland are: www.jobs.ch and www.jobscout24.ch.
Looking for a job in a new country can be stressful and demanding. Get as much advice as possible. Your application should be as clear and comprehensive in order to make a good first impression.