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Jobs in Switzerland roundup: Referendum calls for more nurses

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

Swiss will vote in November on solving the health workers shortage.
The shortage of skilled medical workers, here in ICU, is growing in Switzerland. Photo by MARIO TAMA / AFP

The labour market rebound continued in September

The Swiss labour market continued to grow during the summer, confirming the trend that started at the beginning of the year.

According to the recruitment firm Michael Page, the number of job offers across the country rose 5.7 percent between August and September.

So far in 2021, the employment sector has grown 32.3 percent, a rate twice that of the period before the Covid pandemic.

All regions of Switzerland had more job vacancies, with most in an area that includes the two Appenzells, Graubünden, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen and Thurgau.

Job offers also rose in cantons of Bern, Jura, Neuchâtel, Fribourg and Solothurn.

The strongest growth was recorded in retail, restaurant sector, logistics, and IT.

Shortage of medical professionals sparks concern and a referendum

The Covid pandemic highlighted the need for, and the shortage of qualified health personnel in Swiss hospitals, including in the intensive care units.

About 10,000 caregivers are needed urgently right now, with additional 70,500 needed within the next eight years, according to Rebecca Spirig, Director of Nursing at the University Hospital in Zurich.

“As it is, the situation is untenable”, she said.

For many years, Switzerland has relied heavily on medical staff from abroad.

“Without foreign employees, our healthcare system would no longer function. We benefit from people who were trained elsewhere – and who are now absent there. This great dependency is problematic. It is imperative that we train more nurses domestically”, Spirig said.

To that end, the Swiss will vote on November 28th on an initiative launched by The Swiss Association of Nurses, which seeks to train more caregivers and improve the working conditions to prevent dropouts from the profession.

Covid certificate becomes more common in the workplace

As The Local reported recently, more companies in Switzerland now require their employees to have the certificate.

Novartis, Swiss Post, Swiss Re and Zurich insurance companies, and SWISS airline are among a growing number of employers that have introduced this rule, with more seriously considering the certificate requirement as well.

Why is this happening, as employers have no right to demand that their workforce gets inoculated?

Companies still have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees, and many see vaccination as the only way to accomplish this.

You can find out more about this here:

More Swiss companies now require Covid certificate from their employees

Did you know?

Many employers in Switzerland require the new hires to undergo the probation period, lasting between one and three months.

There is no protection against dismissal in the case of illness, accident or pregnancy during this trial period, though some employers may agree to extend it beyond three months in such cases.

While you must inform the company about illness or accident, you are not required by law to reveal your pregnancy, as that cannot be grounds for dismissal.

Useful links

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

Snow business: How to find a job in winter sports in Switzerland

Which jobs pay the most and least after a Swiss apprenticeship?

Are you being underpaid in Switzerland? Here’s how to find out

The jobs roundup is a weekly feature 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


Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

The Covid pandemic hit Switzerland hard, although the country's largest city has rebounded strongly.

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

Measures imposed due to the Covid pandemic, which began in earnest in February 2020, shuttered businesses across the country and pushed many people out of work. 

When most notable Covid rules were relaxed in Switzerland in mid-February 2022, the economic recovery – highlighted by a strong job market – began in earnest in 2021. 

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Nowhere was this more evident than Zurich, Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful city. 

How did Zurich rebound from the Covid pandemic in comparison to the rest of the country?

Even though Zurich, along with other large Swiss cities like Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne, have been hit hard by the pandemic from the employment perspective, Zurich’s labour market is now growing faster than in other urban centres.

One of the reasons for this upward trend is that young, well-educated foreigners are coming back.

In the first nine months of 2021, the city’s population grew significantly.

In September alone, it recorded 2,200 additional residents.

This is mainly due to people with a B residence permit, according to Klemens Rosin, methodologist at Zurich’s Statistics Office.

During the crisis, far fewer of them left the city. “This group is made up of well-educated, younger and mobile foreigners who have made a significant contribution to Zurich’s growth”, Rosin said.

Zurich’s employment market is expect to grow even further.

READ MORE: How hard is finding work in Zurich without speaking German?

That’s because in the coming years, many Zurich workers will retire — an estimated  210,000 by year 2050 — creating more job opportunities for younger employees.

In fact, according to a study commissioned by the canton in 2021, if Zurich’s economy is to continue to flourish, it will need around 1.37 million workers by mid-century.

If these vacancies will not be filled, then income, tax revenue and the financing of social security programs will be impacted.

READ MORE: Have your say: What’s the best way to find a job in Zurich

While it is difficult to predict what jobs will be most in demand in 2050 — what new technologies will emerge in the meantime — right now and in medium term, IT workers will be especially needed, experts say, because businesses will continue to to digitalise and automate.

Lower skilled jobs will also be in higher demand, including hospitality, retail and transport. 

With hundreds of thousands of vacancies to fill, people with the permission to work in Switzerland are likely to be flush with offers – particularly skilled workers with recognised qualifications. 

READ MORE: Why finding a job in Switzerland is set to become easier