How to find work in Switzerland, with information on the Swiss job market, job vacancies in Switzerland, Swiss work permits, plus where to look for jobs in Switzerland.
Many foreigners – especially highly skilled – successfully find work in Switzerland, with almost half of all executive jobs in Switzerland filled by foreigners. Switzerland is a very appealing place to come and work: average Swiss salaries, working conditions and Switzerland’s standard of living are very high.
Work in Switzerland
Competition for Swiss jobs is fierce and opportunities are more limited for those coming from outside of the EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association), as there are often quotas for jobs in Switzerland for foreigners, even for highly-skilled, well-qualified specialists.
However, finding a job in Switzerland is possible, including a small selection of jobs in Switzerland for English-speakers, especially in sectors where there are high shortages of skilled workers. In multicultural Switzerland, however, language is often key to finding work in Switzerland.
Job market in Switzerland
The Swiss economy is stable and the Swiss unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world, standing at 4.3% in March 2020. However, foreigners account for almost half of those who are officially without work.
Cross-border workers also continue to play an important role in Switzerland, with some 332,177 cross-border workers active in Switzerland in the three months to the end of June 2020.
Job vacancies in Switzerland
Switzerland may be a small country but it’s a nation with a highly-skilled workforce (in high-, micro- and biotechnology for example) and an important industrial nation, with half of all Swiss export revenue coming from mechanical/electrical engineering and the chemicals sector. It’s also one of the world’s major financial centers. So there are jobs for skilled workers in engineering and technology, pharmaceuticals, consulting, banking, insurance, and IT, with financial analysts, business analysts, and systems analysts in great demand.
Job salaries in Switzerland
Salaries in Switzerland are the highest not just among EU/EFTA countries but anywhere in the world. The gross median Swiss wage in 2018 was CHF 6,538. This varies across regions, with the highest average in Zurich (CHF 6,965) and the lowest in Ticino (CHF 5,363).
Switzerland has no official minimum wage, however, contain clauses on minimum compensation for workers. These are currently between CHF 2,200 – 4,200 a month for unskilled workers and CHF 2,800 – 5,300 for skilled workers.
Job websites in Switzerland
You can find general jobs in Switzerland on a number of websites, many of which advertise jobs in Switzerland for foreigners and in English:
Specialist jobs in Switzerland
- Alpha – for executives
- Euro Science Jobs – research and post-doc jobs
- Robert Walters – accountancy and finance
- SwissLinx – executive, technology and finance
- Diversity – pharmaceutical
IT jobs in Switzerland
- Techno Jobs – IT and technical jobs
- Darwin – IT and telecoms
- Swissdev Jobs – IT/ software developers
Jobs at international organizations
Many international organizations are also based in Switzerland, especially Geneva. You can look for work in Switzerland for foreigners at the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, and the International Red Cross, as well as visit this list of non-governmental organizations in Geneva and elsewhere in Switzerland.
Jobs in Switzerland for English speakers
Despite Switzerland’s multilingual workforce, there is still demand for English-speakers in Switzerland. Jobs in Switzerland for English speakers are widely advertised, including on several of the job sites above, as well as on:
Recruitment agencies in Switzerland
It’s easy to register at any of the many private employment agencies in Switzerland. Private recruitment agencies are called Arbeitsvermittlung or agence de placement in Switzerland. Manpower and Adecco are two of the main agencies but you can find many more doing an internet search. You can also find a list of agencies who are licensed to work in this field in the Swiss Yellow Pages.
Teaching jobs in Switzerland
Getting a job teaching English in Switzerland can be hard as many locals already speak it, but if you can find a teaching job in Switzerland the pay is good. You can find jobs on ETAS, i-to-i or with the British Council. Circle of Schools has jobs for English teachers in state schools but you must be either an EU citizen or married to one.
Swiss jobs in newspapers
Jobs may be published in newspapers: look in the classifieds under stellentinserate in German, les offres d’emploi in French, or annunci di lavoro in Italian.