Employment in Switzerland in 2024: how an expat can find a job, the labor market and a work visa



Employment in Switzerland in 2024: how an expat can find a job, the labor market and a work visa

Switzerland is facing a significant labor shortage, and many companies are trying to attract skilled workers in various fields. The country is known for its high salaries and quality of life, which makes it attractive to expats. Find out about the labor market in Switzerland, salary levels, how to apply for a job and other important details

Order an insurance policy for safe travel, stay or work abroad
Order an insurance policy for safe travel, stay or work abroad

Switzerland is a very attractive place to work, especially given the high level of wages, quality of life and favorable working conditions.

Expats are successfully employed in the country. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 1.8 million foreigners worked in Switzerland in the 3rd quarter of 2023. 79% of them are citizens of the EU/EFTA states or the United Kingdom, and the rest are representatives of third countries (21%).

Expats perform highly qualified work in Switzerland, for example, almost half of all management positions in the country are held by foreigners. There is also a demand for workers without qualifications.

How to move to Switzerland for work? A detailed guide for expats follows.

Labor market in Switzerland

Switzerland's economy is stable, and the unemployment rate in the country is one of the lowest in the world, at 4.3%.

The key sectors of the Swiss economy are the chemical industry, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, watchmaking and food retailing.

Thanks to favorable Swiss tax conditions, many large multinational corporations are located in Switzerland. The largest company in the country by the number of employees is Nestle, the state has 323,000 employees. Other major corporations include ABB, Adecco, Credit Suisse and Glencore International.

Salary level in Switzerland

A person working in Switzerland typically earns around 124,000 Swiss francs (€127,500) per year. The lowest salary level is 31,300 Swiss francs (32,000 euros). The maximum salary in the country is up to 553,000 Swiss francs per year (€568,610).

In general, the salary level depends on your experience, place of residence and skills.

Work culture in Switzerland

The Swiss value thrift, tolerance, punctuality and a sense of responsibility, these factors are key in their business culture. Also, the way a Swiss company operates may differ depending on whether the company is located in the French, German or Italian regions of Switzerland.

As a rule, the hierarchy in the firm is vertical, with decision-making taking place at the top of the company.

Swiss labor law

Swiss workers are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of vacation per year, as well as rest on public holidays.

The majority of workers are employed on the basis of a written employment contract - this is a contract that details labor rights and obligations, as well as conditions for terminating the contract.

The maximum working week is 45 hours for industrial workers and 50 hours for all other employees.

The trial period is 1-3 months.

How to find a job in Switzerland?

You can look for a job in Switzerland:

- On the EURES portal - the European labor mobility portal. This is a website of the European Commission that promotes freedom of movement within the European Economic Area.

- Regional employment centers in various cantons throughout Switzerland. You can register at your local office or view current vacancies on their website (RAV/ORP/URC).

- Job search portals: Jobs.ch, Jobscout 24, JobUp, Jobwinner, Monster, Seasonworkers, StepStone and Total jobs.

- Job search sites for professionals: Alpha (for managers), Euro Science Jobs (research), Robert Walters (accounting and finance), SwissLinx (technology and finance) and Diversity (pharmaceutical industry).

- Jobs in the IT sector: Techno Jobs and Swissdev Jobs.

- Jobs for English speakers: Glassdoor, Jobs in Geneva, Jobs in Zurich  and The Local.

Also, many international organizations work in the country, especially in Geneva. You can find work at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the International Red Cross.

What jobs are in demand among foreigners in Switzerland?

Switzerland is experiencing an acute labor shortage and many employers are struggling to hire skilled workers. This extends to various industries.

One of the biggest problems of the Swiss labor market is the lack of qualified personnel in the IT, technical, education and medical sectors. For example, in IT there are currently four job openings for every job seeker.

Local employers are also in need of engineers, educators, doctors, medical workers, construction workers, hospitality and service professionals, and electricians.

How to apply for a job in Switzerland?

After you find a vacancy that interests you, you need to send your resume and cover letter to the employer to consider the application.

Preparing for interviews in Switzerland is similar to any other. Dress smartly, read a little about the company beforehand, and keep your demeanor formal without being too stiff or out of character.

Interviews with Swiss employers are generally similar to interviews in countries such as the US and UK, especially at large multinational companies. Some of the interview questions employers ask may be more personal than you're used to, such as "Are you married?" or "Do you have children?".

If the company offers you a job, you will need to provide 2-3 good references from previous employers.

Work visa in Switzerland

  The list of documents for obtaining a work permit in Switzerland depends on the expat's citizenship:

- EU citizens

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but citizens of countries that are part of the EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association) can come to Switzerland without a visa, move between cantons and work without having to obtain a work permit for 3 months. If you plan to stay longer than three months, you will need to register and obtain a residence permit in the canton where you are staying.

- Citizens of third countries

Citizens of the rest of the world may find it much more difficult to obtain a work visa in Switzerland, as the country has strict rules for foreigners. For example, employers must prove that the work cannot be performed by a local resident, usually only managers, highly qualified professionals and people with higher education are allowed to do so.

The main requirements for obtaining a work visa for citizens of third countries:

1. Confirmed job offer from a Swiss employer;

2. Fulfillment of annual quotas established for foreign workers, especially for non-EU/EFTA citizens;

3. For certain professions, preference is given to citizens of Switzerland and citizens of the EU/EEU over citizens of non-EU/EEU countries.

An approximate list of documents for obtaining a work visa in Switzerland

In addition to submitting a visa application, you usually also need to provide the following documents:

- a photocopy of a passport or a valid identity document;

- confirmation of a job offer (for example, a letter with an offer, a copy of an employment contract);

- CV and copies of education and qualification documents in German, French, Italian or English (translated by an official translator if necessary).

Usually, the visa application is processed in about 8-10 weeks.

Find the cost and procedure for obtaining a Swiss work visa in 2024 in our material.

Language requirements for work in Switzerland

Switzerland has several main national languages: Swiss-German is the most common, especially in the central and eastern areas. French is spoken in the west, and Italian in the south. English is also often used in the workplace, but knowing the national languages will give you an advantage in the Swiss job market, as will knowing Chinese.

Working in Switzerland for expats, like most countries in the world, has its advantages and disadvantages, but with the right preparation and the ability to adapt, working here can be a great experience and an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Igor Usyk - Head of Migration department at VisitWorld

For a safe move to Switzerland, obtaining a residence and employment permit, use the advice of an international lawyer.

We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in Switzerland.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Travel guide for 200 countries;

Legal advice from a local specialist on visa and migration issues;

Travel insurance around the world (please select the country of interest and citizenship to receive services);

Medical insurance all over the world.

Recommended articles

2 min

Expats The procedure for obtaining UK citizenship in 2024

The procedure for obtaining UK citizenship in 2024

Becoming a British citizen is an important step for many people from all over the world who dream of living and working in this country with a rich history and culture. There are different ways to become a citizen, so it is important to understand the process and requirements. Find out more about the procedure for obtaining UK citizenship in 2024

28 Mar. 2024

More details

2 min

Popular The safest regions of the world in 2024: which is the best country if World War III happens? (updated)

The safest regions of the world in 2024: which is the best country if World War III happens? (updated)

Some countries are island states with political neutrality, which means that the likelihood of a military conflict is quite low. Learn more about the countries that are likely to participate in World War III and the top safest countries in the world in 2024

28 Mar. 2024

More details

2 min

Expats How can a foreigner earn money from real estate in Turkey in 2024?

How can a foreigner earn money from real estate in Turkey in 2024?

The demand for Turkish real estate is growing every year. And most owners of apartments today live at the expense of tenants. We tell you how to earn an income from your own home in Turkey in 2024

28 Mar. 2024

More details

3 min

Travels The most difficult airports in Europe for Easter travel in 2024

The most difficult airports in Europe for Easter travel in 2024

Based on a survey of air passengers, we have ranked the most stressful airports in the world, which caused them the most difficulties when travelling in 2023. Find out more about which European airports are the most difficult to travel to for Easter in 2024

29 Mar. 2024

More details