Jobs in Switzerland

Finding a job in Switzerland as an expat is not easy thanks to the language barrier and the cultural differences from canton to canton. Despite the challenges of finding work, Switzerland offers employees some of the highest salaries in the world. Even the impacts of the Euro crisis have not been able to cause widespread job losses in the country but competition for work is pretty high. Thanks to a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the EU, a European citizen has free movement in Switzerland and allows any EU citizen the right to work and live in the country.

The difficulties

If emigrating from the UK you won’t have much trouble entering Switzerland due to both countries being members of the European Union.

However, you are at an immediate disadvantage if you are looking for work and currently reside outside of the country due to the language barrier. Just like moving to another country that speaks a foreign language it is highly recommended that you put in the effort to learn. Confusingly Switzerland has areas that speak in different languages even within its own borders. Some regions speak German others French or Italian. Being able to speak one of these languages will give you a big advantage when looking or work.

Finding work

The best way to find work in Switzerland is to use the internet. Employment agencies are often used but as with anywhere most jobs are granted mainly due to relationships and contacts. Often vacant positions are not advertised publicly, but filled by people who have contacts within the company.

It’s a good idea to take advantage of every possible contact that you have, from friends, colleagues and classmates. Even the most casual acquaintances can sometimes point you towards a potential job lead. Persistence and confidence are vital ingredients to a successful job search.

Swiss newspapers also advertise plenty of jobs. Recruitment ads in the press are not common, although they tend to appear a little more frequently in German-speaking Switzerland. There is no real national newspaper, but the best newspapers for good positions are the ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’ (NZZ), the ‘Tages Anzeiger’, the ‘Journal de Genève’, the ‘Tribune de Genève’, the ‘Finanz und Wirtschaft’, the ‘Handelsblatt’, and the ‘Schweizerische Handels-Zeitung’. Consequently, recruitment web sites or agencies might be the best option in your pursuit of employment.

Writing an application letter and interviews

An application letter for a Swiss job should be done in the following manner: Make sure the letter is hand written, write in a formal style, refer to the advertisement you are responding to and highlight your transferable soft skills and how you use them to help the company.