English the fourth most common language in the Swiss workplace, data reveals

English the fourth most common language in the Swiss workplace, data reveals

The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has found that English has become the fourth most common language at work in Switzerland. While learning German or French still gives an advantage, the government also found that speakers of non-Swiss languages are on the rise, with the population now more numerous than French speakers.

One in five people in Switzerland use English at work

According to the data for 2022, Swiss German and High German remain the most commonly spoken languages at jobs in Switzerland. 62,6 percent of people reported using some form of Dialekt while working, while 33,6 percent said they have to use standard German.

While French held third place with 27,7 percent of the workforce, the survey found that more than one in five people (20,5 percent) have to speak English as part of their daily working life. Italian (8 percent) and Portuguese (2 percent) rounded out the top six.

While there are some jobs that only require English, the FSO noted that most English-speaking positions in Switzerland are bilingual - around 45 percent of those surveyed said they use more than one language during their working hours. Gaining the ability to speak English was also top of people’s priorities, with more residents wanting to learn English than any other language.

Swiss languages remain dominant at home

While English remained dominant at work, the same cannot be said after people clock off and head home. The FSO found that only 6,1 percent of the population use English at home with friends and family, behind Swiss German (56,7 percent), French (23,3 percent), High German (11,1 percent) and Italian (8,3 percent).

Finally, the FSO noted that people's choice of mother tongue has changed significantly, with the number of people identifying as using a non-Swiss language eclipsing French speakers for the first time with 23,1 percent of the population, compared to the Romande’s 22,8 percent. However, the FSO concluded that German dialects remain dominant, with 62,3 percent of residents using the language as their mother tongue.

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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