Expats benefit the most from rise in employment in Switzerland

Expats benefit the most from rise in employment in Switzerland

The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office has shown that more and more expats and internationals have qualifications from universities or equivalent higher education. The study showed that expats were also more likely to find a job in Switzerland than citizens in the fourth quarter of 2021.

More people in jobs in Switzerland than the year before

In the last quarter of 2021, the proportion of people employed in Switzerland was 1,1 percent higher than in the same period in 2020, continuing the rebound from the year before, when many lost their jobs or were furloughed due to COVID regulations. The unemployment rate continued to decline as the year went on, to the point that by the end of the year over 5,1 million people were working in Switzerland.

Expats were the main group that benefited from the rise in employment, with international workers seeing the greatest increases. Employment levels among expats increased by 2,1 percent in 2021, compared to a 0,6 percent increase among Swiss citizens. The highest rises were seen in cross-border workers and those with a B or L-residence permit.

Expats almost on par with locals in regard to education

For those in employment, it was found that working hours had also increased by 1,5 percent, as the number of people in short or part-time work declined. Despite the scrapping of COVID restrictions that ordered people to work from home, the study found that 38,5 percent of people still take part in telecommuting.

One of the more notable findings was that among expats and internationals employed by Swiss companies, 41 percent have university or higher educational degrees. This means that non-Swiss nationals are now almost on par with citizens in their level of education. 

In more troubling news, 7,7 percent of young adults between 15 and 24 years old are unemployed and not in education, up from 7,3 percent in 2020. Overall, 98.000 people are now considered to be long term unemployed, a rise of 9.000 compared to the year before.

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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