63 percent of Swiss firms looking to hire new expats to help solve skills crisis

63 percent of Swiss firms looking to hire new expats to help solve skills crisis

The latest Swiss Employment Barometer by ManpowerGroup has found that more international companies and domestic businesses are being compelled to look abroad to fill jobs in Switzerland. Amid skills shortages described as “historic” by the organisation, 63 percent of companies surveyed said they were actively looking abroad to fill vacancies.

Record number of companies looking to hire in Switzerland

For the second quarter of 2023, ManpowerGroup told Blick that a large number of companies still want to hire new workers, despite ongoing economic uncertainty abroad. Around 31 percent of firms surveyed said that they wanted to hire new employees in the coming months, a new record for the Employment Barometer.

However, the study noted that this enthusiasm was tempered by the fact that unemployment figures in the alpine nation have remained low over the past few months. As a result of the scarcity of unemployed workers, 76 percent of businesses admitted that they have struggled to find people to fill their vacancies.

Over half of Swiss firms looking to employ expats from abroad

The lack of domestic labour means that 63 percent of firms surveyed are looking for skilled workers from abroad to take the reigns and move to Switzerland, compared to 16 percent which said they will look to employ fewer expats, and 26 percent which told the study that they will only seek to employ people who already have residence permits or are citizens of Switzerland.

Much like a previous study by x28AG, ManpowerGroup found that expats specialised in IT, data management, human resources, operations and logistics are in the highest demand - although experts admit that skills shortages can be found in practically all fields. 

“Soft skills are also considered to be increasingly important…We are talking here about classic skills, such as the ability to solve problems, a sense of responsibility or even critical thinking,” noted the director for French-speaking Switzerland at ManpowerGroup, Laurent Vacelet. Speaking to Blick, he said that most companies are struggling to find people with non-technical skills like creativity, leadership, teamwork and adaptability.

Swiss businesses willing to pay more for new workers

In concluding the study, ManpowerGroup added that companies are willing to do more to attract new employees. Of those surveyed, 38 percent of firms said they want to offer better working hours and more work contracts with part-time hours to those interested in their vacancies, while 32 percent confirmed that they would be willing to attract new talent by giving newcomers higher salaries and flexible working options.

Image: / Michael Derrer Fuchs

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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