FSO: Over 20 percent of people in Switzerland use English in the workplace

FSO: Over 20 percent of people in Switzerland use English in the workplace

According to new data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), English is the most common non-Swiss language in Switzerland. The study also found that English is the most commonly used non-national language at work, with over 20 percent of workers having to use English at some point during their working hours.

Swiss German the most common language in Switzerland

The new study by the FSO, called "Language landscape in Switzerland," found that German - or Swiss German - is the most commonly spoken language in the country, with 62 percent of residents naming the language as their mother tongue in 2020.

This was followed by French with 23 percent, Italian with 8 percent and Romansh with 0,5 percent. In addition, instead of learning another Swiss language like German, French, Italian or Romansh, 74 percent of the population said they were monolingual.

The FSO also noted that there has been a 4 percent increase in the number of people reporting a “non-national language” as their primary language, up from 19 percent in 2010 to 23 percent in 2020.

English used frequently at home and in jobs in Switzerland

English was found to be the most dominant non-Swiss language, with 7 percent of the population describing it as their mother tongue. This was followed by Portuguese and Albanian. Around 21 percent of those surveyed said their jobs included speaking in English for either some or all of the time.

In all, 18 percent of workers in Switzerland speak two languages in the workplace, while 8 percent have to speak three! The most common language pairs were German and English (8,3 percent of workers), German and French (2,5 percent) and French and English (2,2 percent).

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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