Why Switzerland is still ranked top of the league for skilled workers

Switzerland has maintained its first place in global talent competitiveness rankings released during the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. But why?

Why Switzerland is still ranked top of the league for skilled workers

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) ranks Switzerland in the first place out of 132 nations surveyed.

The country earned the top spot for the eighth consecutive year, ever since the Index was launched in 2013 by the recruiting agency Adecco, INSEAD Business School, and Google.

 “Switzerland remains the outright leader in the GTCI by virtue of its strong performances in almost every dimension”, the study’s authors said.

The country got high scores in its ability to attract, enable, and retain skilled workers.

A good indication of its strong talent competitiveness across the board is that it placed well with respect to vocational and technical skills, as well as lifelong learning and sustainability.

The US and Singapore follow in the second and third places, respectively. But seven out of 10 top countries are in Europe: Sweden (4), Denmark (5), Netherlands (6), Finland (7), Luxembourg (8), and Norway (9).

However, Switzerland did not do as well in terms of gender equality and tolerance of minorities and immigrants, the study noted.

In the overall ranking of the competitiveness of 155 individual cities, Zurich is in the 17th place, scoring highly in terms of advanced technologies, including fintech and medtech. 

Geneva, in the 34th place, does well in areas such as environment and safety. 

New York tops the city ranking, followed by London, Singapore, San Francisco and Boston.

Switzerland also clinched the top spot in an earlier international survey of countries most attractive to skilled workers. 

READ MORE: Why Switzerland has been ranked 'best country' in the world once again




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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