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French deemed ‘too lazy’ for Swiss recruiters

Swiss recruitment firms are shunning French candidates because they are deemed "too lazy" and "arrogant" and have a penchant for ringing in sick on Mondays and Fridays, according to reports in a Swiss newspaper this week.

French deemed 'too lazy' for Swiss recruiters
Are the French too lazy for the Swiss? Photo: Victor1558/Flickr/File

The French have come under the cosh for their work ethic in recent months. In February, outspoken American CEO Maurice Taylor accused French factory workers of spending most of their time at work talking and now it is the turn of the Swiss to cast aspersions on how hard the French work.

This week, a Swiss paper provoked headlines and more soul searching in France by claiming recruitment firms in the country are shunning the French because they are perceived to be too “lazy and arrogant”.

Le Matin Dimanche reported that Swiss recruitment firms are including the requirement “Swiss or resident in Switzerland” in job adverts to avoid being inundated by French applicants.

Recruitment agencies interviewed by the newspaper say they include the condition in order to meet with the desires of their clients, who have a less than flattering view of the French.

The newspaper quotes the head of recruitment at a medium sized construction firm, who complains that the French staff are often ill on Mondays or Fridays and they have a "vengeful" attitude.

"There's always a problem. It's totally different with the Spanish and the Portuguese," the head of the recruitment tells the newspaper anonymously.

French are boycotted

Le Matin Dimanche writes that “In areas like construction… The French are boycotted: They are judged to be lazy and grumpy and pretentious by the companies".

Including a condition that stipulates candidates must be "Swiss or resident in Switzerland" is in fact against the law because of the 1999 agreement Switzerland signed with the EU over freedom of movement that requires citizens of both countries be treated equally.

To avoid breaking the laws Le Matin Dimanche said recruitment firms would often demand applicants must have a high level of German even when it is not needed, knowing this will reduce the chances of a French candidate applying.

The Swiss newspaper also claims that Swiss banks are put off recruiting French workers, because they are worried they might turn into whistleblowers.

This follows the recent case of Pierre Condamin-Gerbier, the former employee of Reyl and Cie bank, who recently handed over to authorities in Paris a list of French politicians he claimed had secret bank accounts in Switzerland.

The French work ethnic has not just come under scrutiny from foreigners.

French author Aurélie Boullet (alias Zoé Shepard) caused uproar when she published the book ‘Absolument Dé-bor-dée!’ (‘Absolutely Snowed Under!’), an ironic account of work in a fictional town hall, based on her own experience.

Boullet told The Local earlier this year that although the French did have certain issues such as an obsession with meetings, it was nevertheless unfair to criticize the work ethic of all French people.

“There’s no single work ethic in France, but rather there are many,” she said. “It depends on the people directing a company. Some [directors] inspire a real energy, instilling a “quality” approach – with regular assessments to see if the client and the public are satisfied.”

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ZURICH

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

The Covid pandemic hit Switzerland hard, although the country's largest city has rebounded strongly.

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

Measures imposed due to the Covid pandemic, which began in earnest in February 2020, shuttered businesses across the country and pushed many people out of work. 

When most notable Covid rules were relaxed in Switzerland in mid-February 2022, the economic recovery – highlighted by a strong job market – began in earnest in 2021. 

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Nowhere was this more evident than Zurich, Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful city. 

How did Zurich rebound from the Covid pandemic in comparison to the rest of the country?

Even though Zurich, along with other large Swiss cities like Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne, have been hit hard by the pandemic from the employment perspective, Zurich’s labour market is now growing faster than in other urban centres.

One of the reasons for this upward trend is that young, well-educated foreigners are coming back.

In the first nine months of 2021, the city’s population grew significantly.

In September alone, it recorded 2,200 additional residents.

This is mainly due to people with a B residence permit, according to Klemens Rosin, methodologist at Zurich’s Statistics Office.

During the crisis, far fewer of them left the city. “This group is made up of well-educated, younger and mobile foreigners who have made a significant contribution to Zurich’s growth”, Rosin said.

Zurich’s employment market is expect to grow even further.

READ MORE: How hard is finding work in Zurich without speaking German?

That’s because in the coming years, many Zurich workers will retire — an estimated  210,000 by year 2050 — creating more job opportunities for younger employees.

In fact, according to a study commissioned by the canton in 2021, if Zurich’s economy is to continue to flourish, it will need around 1.37 million workers by mid-century.

If these vacancies will not be filled, then income, tax revenue and the financing of social security programs will be impacted.

READ MORE: Have your say: What’s the best way to find a job in Zurich

While it is difficult to predict what jobs will be most in demand in 2050 — what new technologies will emerge in the meantime — right now and in medium term, IT workers will be especially needed, experts say, because businesses will continue to to digitalise and automate.

Lower skilled jobs will also be in higher demand, including hospitality, retail and transport. 

With hundreds of thousands of vacancies to fill, people with the permission to work in Switzerland are likely to be flush with offers – particularly skilled workers with recognised qualifications. 

READ MORE: Why finding a job in Switzerland is set to become easier 

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