For members


Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news

Find out all the latest information related to jobs in Switzerland with The Local's weekly roundup of relevant news.

Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news
Women working at one cantonal bank will have shorter maternity leave. Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

Will the economic upswing bring greater wages? 

As Switzerland’s economy is on the upswing, several professional organisations and unions are calling for higher salaries for sectors most impacted by the pandemic.

“Thanks to the exceptional dedication and great flexibility they have shown, but at the cost of the loss of income they have suffered, the employees have helped the country overcome the crisis. It is time to involve them in the recovery by increasing their wages”, said Gabriel Fischer, the head of economic policy at Travail.Suisse, the umbrella association of employees in Switzerland.

However, wage increases may not be possible in all sectors.

In the hospitality industry, which was most affected by Covid restrictions “salary increases will be rare. We can only hope that the branch will emerge stronger, so that gradually wages and working conditions can improve ”, noted Urs Masshardt, managing director of the Swiss Hotel & Gastro Union.

In the health sector, wages have stagnated much for years and in retail, “pay has been chronically too low or a long time”, according to  Mathias Regotz, head of contractual policy at the Syna union. “Salary increases of 3 to 4 percent are mandatory in these sectors.”

On the other hand, the construction sector has emerged largely unscathed from the crisis, and much of the industry has already recovered. In these sectors, wage increases are possible, according to Travail.Suisse.

Brave new world: job interviews conducted by robots

Many Swiss companies have a new twist on the concept of “Human” Resources: candidates for a job must first pass an interview with the computer.

This is how it works: an applicant receives an email with an invitation for an interview, which they can accept by clicking on a link.

The questions are asked in writing, and the program automatically records the answers. The interview lasts just a few minutes — all without a human counterpart.

This kind of interview is now standard at companies like Swiss Federal Railways, Migros, Credit Suisse, UBS, Swiss Post, and other firms, as it is less time-consuming than human-to-human interactions.

However, this system is only used to pre-select the candidates. Once they pass the “robot test”, the applicants are invited to meet a real person for a follow-up interview.

Almost all large companies pay women fairly

The vast majority of Swiss companies have a fair compensation policy between male and female employees.

This assessment is based on salary analysis  by the University of St. Gallen that examined companies with more than 100 employees.

It found that 97 percent of surveyed companies comply with the law on equal pay.

Another study, carried out by Comp-on Compensation Consultants, came up with a rate of 95 percent.

Only a few systematic deviations from the federal rules were discovered.

And yet… equality can also backfire

Schaffhausen’s Kantonalbank is reducing maternity leave for female employees: like men, women now receive the minimum required by law — the usual 16 weeks is reduced to 14.

According to the bank, this is to ensure “equal treatment”.

“The legislature has now provided for paternity leave. As a result, the length of maternity leave and paternity leave have been brought into line with the legal requirements, Therefore, in the interests of equal treatment, it is right to adjust the length of maternity leave to 14 weeks”, the bank explained.

READ MORE: How does paternity leave work in Switzerland – and who can claim it?

Did you know…that median monthly wage in Switzerland is 6,538 francs?

Salary platform Lohncomputer lists average monthly earnings estimates culled from various wage surveys.

Here are just a few examples:

Lawyer: 9,300 francs
Accountant: 8,125 francs
Teacher: 7,292 francs
Bank employee: 6,750
Architect: 6,250 francs
Nurse : 5,667 francs
Carpenter: 5,150 francs
Hairdresser: 4,375 francs

Other salary estimates can be found here.

Useful links

Looking for a job in Switzerland or just want a little more information about working here, then check out the following links. 

Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news

EXPLAINED: What cross-border workers should know about taxation in Switzerland

Who can continue to work from home in Switzerland?

An essential guide to Swiss work permits

The jobs roundup is new addition and we’d welcome any feedback or suggestions for areas it should cover. Please email us at [email protected]

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For members


Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Switzerland has made reciprocal agreements regarding working holiday visas with several countries. Here's what you need to know.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Over the past few decades, countries around the globe have rolled out ‘working holiday visa’ agreements.

These visa schemes, largely targeted at young people, allow people to work and live in a particular country, usually for a set period of time and pursuant to certain conditions.

In recent years, Switzerland has expanded its own form of a ‘working holiday visa’, although there are some important differences to be aware of.

Unlike some of the better known schemes like those in place in Australia, applicants are discouraged from moving around and are generally required to stay with the one employer for the duration.

The goal of the visa scheme is to allow applicants to “expand their occupational and linguistic skills in Switzerland”.

The visa scheme runs for 18 months and cannot be extended.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

The agreements are made between countries, meaning your fate will depend on whether your government has at some point struck a deal with Switzerland.

EXPLAINED: What’s the difference between permanent residence and Swiss citizenship?

If you are from the European Union or an EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), then you will be able to live and work in Switzerland as is – and will not need to go through this process.

If you come from outside the EU, you will only be able to apply for this visa if you are a citizen of the following countries:

Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United States.

What does ‘reciprocal’ mean in this context? 

Where these agreements have been struck, they have entitled citizens of both countries to certain rights and permissions in the other country. 

However, while these arrangements might be reciprocal, they are not identical. 

For instance, while citizens of Australia can enter Switzerland and work, the rules for Swiss citizens in Australia are significantly different. 

Therefore, if considering each program, be sure to study all of the relevant details as these will change from country to country and from agreement to agreement. 

More information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How to get a working holiday visa in Switzerland