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Excerpted from the Switzerland Career Guide

General Trends

Switzerland is a small European country renowned for peace and prosperity. With a labor force of fewer than five million people, it boasts a modern market economy, a highly-skilled population and a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) among the highest in the world. Switzerland evokes images of vast mountain scenery, luxury watches, decadent chocolate and the ultimate in private banking. Switzerland has a highly-developed service sector, led by financial services, and a high tech manufacturing industry.

With a small domestic market and no natural resources apart from water, Switzerland has always been forced to look for markets abroad. Switzerland’s economy is highly dependent on exports, with its foreign trade among the highest in the world as a percentage of GDP. Nearly 60 percent of exports go to the EU.

Employment Outlook

Short-term Outlook

Switzerland’s economic foundations remained strong last year, but recruitment decreased in response to ongoing global financial uncertainty. Swiss financial institutions in particular struggled, not due to the Eurozone financial crisis but rather because of increased regulatory pressures. The international demand for Swiss banks to be more transparent resulted in fewer assets under management, leading to layoffs and reduced recruitment in the financial sector. Finance sector professionals who were recruited specialized in niche areas such as risk and compliance.

Areas of Job Promise

Following last year’s trends, forecasts expect headcounts will increase in the watchmaking, ITC, logistics, corporate services, health/social services and public sectors. Headcounts have decreased and are expected to continue decreasing this year in the tourism, media, materials and machinery sectors.

Switzerland has a ‘secret’ automobile and aircraft industry, a niche network of highly-specialized manufacturing firms providing components for a range of areas. This network has successfully positioned itself as a provider for international markets.


Switzerland has one of the world’s highest costs of living, but salaries are also among the highest in the world. Salaries are paid monthly, based on a 13-month system, meaning workers receive two paychecks at the end of the year. The 13th month is not the same as a bonus. The national average salary in Switzerland is 50,242 USD.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Switzerland Guide.

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