High salaries, excellent working conditions and low unemployment are just some of the plus points to working in Switzerland. Discover what the country has to offer…

Quality of life in Switzerland is second to none and the country has one of the highest employment rates in the world, but competition for jobs can be fierce. It can be difficult for foreign workers to secure a job in a skilled profession but it’s not impossible, to achieve this you’ll need to stand out from the crowd.

Switzerland enjoys a healthy tourism industry, great for part-time and seasonal work, thanks to its beautiful scenery and modern cities, however you’ll soon find that there’s more to this country than Swiss cheese, posh chocolates and fancy watches.

Job market in Switzerland

Switzerland is a fairly small country, with a population of around 8 million people. However, it boasts one of most stable economies in the world and the unemployment rate stands at an impressive 3.2%.

The cost of living in Switzerland is very high; Zurich and Geneva are amongst the world’s most expensive cities to live in. However, this is matched by the fact Zurich pays the highest wage levels in the world and is also ranked second for quality of life, according to Swiss University.

The Swiss economy is built on a strong foundation of highly skilled workers. Although the country is best known for its watches, cheese and chocolate, half of all Swiss export revenue is created by the mechanical/electrical engineering and chemistry sectors. Consulting, banking and insurance also make up a large portion of the international income that Switzerland receives.

Jobs are available for skilled workers in:

  • banking and consulting;
  • engineering;
  • insurance;
  • IT;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • technology.

Switzerland also houses a number of multi-national companies including:

  • Adecco;
  • Credit Suisse;
  • Glencore;
  • Nestle;
  • Zurich Insurance.

Tourism is another area that provides employment, with the ski resorts in the Swiss Alps frequently welcoming seasonal workers. English-speaking ski/snowboard instructors are also in demand. For more information on temporary jobs, see Seasonworkers.com – Ski Jobs in Switzerland.

Job vacancies

Search for jobs in Switzerland at:

Work experience and internships in Switzerland

Multinational Swiss watch-making company Swatch is frequently looking to recruit bilingual trainees and recent graduates to work in its offices in Switzerland; you can even email your CV across speculatively. For the latest positions on offer, seeSwatch – Jobs.

For those interested in teaching English in Switzerland, the demand is usually quite low, as most nationals already have a high understanding of English from an early age. If you do manage to secure a teaching post, the pay is usually very good. For more information, visit i-to-i – Teach English in Switzerland.

Volunteering in Switzerland

Voluntary work is well worth considering if you can afford to work unpaid in order to gain experience. Not only will it put your language skills to the test and help you to understand Swiss culture, it will provide you with an opportunity to make valuable contacts and look fantastic on your CV.

Most of the voluntary opportunities in Switzerland involve agricultural work, with unpaid manual labour rewarded with free food and accommodation.

Language requirements

Switzerland is renowned for being a multilingual country. German, French, Italian and Romansh are all spoken in different regions of the country.

It is important to know what language is spoken in the area where you intend to work. For a clear breakdown of the various Swiss regions and the languages spoken, look at the Swiss University – Interactive Map.

There are lots of language course here in the UK, and many good websites exist, along with downloadable podcasts, to help you improve your skills. To test and then sharpen your skills, visit BBC Languages.

Swiss visas and immigration

As Switzerland is not a member of the European Union (EU), different rules are in place when applying for visas and work permits.

The country admits employed foreign citizens on the basis of a dual system:

  • Employment for students: EU students are allowed a job for a maximum of 15 hours a week without a work permit (for as long as their student permit lasts).
  • Short-term employment: EU nationals working in Switzerland for less than three months a year do not need a work permit but must register with the authorities.
  • Long-term employment: EU nationals working for more than 90 days a year will require a work permit. There are many different ways to apply.

More important information regarding visa applications can be found at VFS.Global – Switzerland Visa Information.