Financial experts are forecasting a difficult year for Switzerland, with growth remaining sluggish, consumer prices dropping, and the performance of the economy largely dependent on international trends.

"/> Financial experts are forecasting a difficult year for Switzerland, with growth remaining sluggish, consumer prices dropping, and the performance of the economy largely dependent on international trends.

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EMPLOYMENT

Swiss face new year of economic uncertainty

Financial experts are forecasting a difficult year for Switzerland, with growth remaining sluggish, consumer prices dropping, and the performance of the economy largely dependent on international trends.

Swiss face new year of economic uncertainty
KS Photo

The Swiss economy is expected to experience only slight growth in the coming year, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimates ranging from 0.2 to 0.5 percent.

The economic slowdown will also have an effect on the job market. Research collated from several institutions predicts a rise in unemployment from the current 3 percent to 3.7 percent.

The Federal Council is more pessimistic and has warned that the official rate of unemployment will rise to 3.9 percent by the end of 2012, a figure that could increase still further if the eurozone fails to cure its financial woes.

Manufacturing industries, such as paper, printing and textiles, will be hit hardest, although job cuts are also expected in the financial sector.

Industries struggling with a fall-off in demand and the impact of a strong franc will also see staff numbers reduced. These include retail businesses, the catering trade and makers of industrial machinery, Alexis Bill-Körber from BAK Basel Economics told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

The construction industry, by contrast, is not expected to suffer. The same goes for the watch-making industry, thanks primarily to exceptional sales in Asia.

On average, salaries will go up by one percent, while consumer prices will drop as a consequence of the strong franc, experts forecast. For instance, it will become cheaper to travel by car as petrol prices are reduced, said Bill-Körber.

The Swiss will continue crossing the country’s borders to shop, while online discount sites like Deindeal.ch, will continue to grow, a sign that searching for bargains is no longer taboo.

“The attitude of consumers to bargain-hunting has changed,” writes research firm Trendwatching.

On the macroeconomic side, the reconstruction of the Swiss financial sector will take precedence. With revenues on the wane and costs on the rise, banks are worried. 

“It will get even worse in 2012,” Daniel Ettlin, from the Institute of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich, told Tages Anzeiger.

Banks will see changes to their business models due to more demanding regulations. Some smaller banks may have to outsource their back office operations or merge with institutions, said Ettlin.

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EMPLOYMENT

Hear ye, here ye! This Swiss city is looking for a town crier

Can you carry a tune? Are you a night owl? If so, this job posting in Switzerland may be up right up your (cobblestone) alley. Here’s how you can submit an application for this… very high position.

Hear ye, here ye! This Swiss city is looking for a town crier
The hat and coat are optional for the job. Photo by Lausanne Tourisme

As far as unusual employment opportunities go, this one from Lausanne is — quite literally — tops.

The city, which employs one of Europe’s last remaining town criers, is looking for people to fill this position on part-time basis.

What’s a town crier?

In Lausanne’s case, it is a person who announces the hours every night between 10 pm and 2 am from the bell tower of the city’s imposing Gothic cathedral, a landmark overlooking the roofs of the picturesque Old Town.

The workplace: Lausanne Cathedral. Photo by Lausanne Tourisme

The person who will assume this position will continue a tradition that this city in the canton of Vaud has cherished since 1405.

These are the requirements for the job:

  • To watch over the city each night
  • Announce each hour on the hour between 10pm and 2am in a melodious voice (in French, but knowledge of foreign languages is a plus)
  • Be able to climb 53 stone steps to the cathedral’s bell tower
  • Not have a criminal record
  • No falling asleep on the job
  • Have a business apprenticeship certificate (we are not sure why)

This is 365-days-a-year job, but the new hire will share the position with other criers.

Interested? This is how you can apply.

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