People in Switzerland still working less than pre-pandemic levels

People in Switzerland still working less than pre-pandemic levels

A new study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has found that people working in Switzerland spent more time at their jobs in 2021 than in the previous year. Despite this, the total number of working hours has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Swiss worked 2,5 percent more in 2021 than in 2020

Unsurprisingly, 2020 was not the most productive year in Switzerland’s history, given the mass disruption caused by lockdowns and pandemic control measures. By comparison, the figures for 2021 showed that people in Switzerland worked 2,5 percent more than in 2020, reflecting how far the country developed in terms of finding suitable solutions to working during COVID. 

Since the start of the pandemic, many working environments were adapted to allow hybrid, home or remote working, ensuring that employees were able to continue to work smoothly if new lockdowns or work-from-home orders were issued by the government. The statistics, which were compiled and released by the FSO, show that people in Switzerland collectively worked 7.798 billion hours in 2021. 

The number of jobs available in Switzerland has remained stable

The reason for increased working hours is not because more people are employed, however. It is merely because the number of people absent from work decreased. In 2021, the reason most frequently given for paid leave or shorter working hours was illness or an accident (42,2 percent of all absences), with the second most common reason being a cut in the number of hours (31,8 percent). The study found that many other workers also took time off for maternity leave and for national or civil service.

Overall, the FSO data shows that the total work time of most people in Switzerland in 2021 was around 39 hours and 16 minutes per week for full-time employees. The longest working hours were observed in the primary sectors like farming (45 hours and 8 minutes on average, per week), while the employees with the shortest work hours were those working in the hospitality and catering industry (29 hours and 45 minutes on average, per week).

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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