Switzerland tops rankings for ability to attract most talented workers

A new global study shows that for the fifth consecutive year, Switzerland is the number one destination for top professionals.

Switzerland tops rankings for ability to attract most talented workers
Switzerland attracts top workers, study say. Photo by AFP

According to a new study by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, “the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has not dented Switzerland's potential to attract talent on a global scale”.

“The training system, quality of life and high salaries remain the country's main strengths”, IMD found.

While the coronavirus has forced many employees to work from home, the top-ranked economies are home to companies that have been able to keep their employees motivated in a difficult context, the report said.

Switzerland has maintained its first place “thanks in particular to the efficient implementation of apprenticeship, public investments in training, the quality of health infrastructures and the impact of the brain drain on its economy”, the study’s authors said.

They also found that Switzerland tops the ranks for its high-quality education system, both in terms of those who pursue university education and vocational training / apprenticeships.

“In 2020, the economies likely to attract more talent are those that have invested in training, at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The opportunities for continuing education within companies contribute to a country's good reputation”, the study noted.

Denmark and Luxembourg rank in the second and third place, respectively. In all, eight European countries are among the top 10: Iceland is in the fourth place, Sweden (5) Austria (6), Norway (7), and the Netherlands (10).

READ MORE: Swiss economic slump is 'less serious than feared' 

The other top-ranked countries are Canada (8) and Singapore (9).

The United States is in the 15th place, down from the 12th in 2019.

Switzerland has also earned top scores in two other international studies released in 2020, both showing that the country has weathered economic consequences of the health crisis better than most nations.

It was ranked as “the most resilient economy in the world” in August and was in the fourth place globally for its post-Covid economic recovery.



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Why Switzerland continues to attract foreign companies despite the coronavirus pandemic

Despite the pandemic, 220 foreign businesses set up their offices in Switzerland in 2020.

Why Switzerland continues to attract foreign companies despite the coronavirus pandemic
Switzerland is a magnet for foreign companies. Photo by Valeriano de Domenico/AFP

While this number is 9 percent lower than in the previous year, these companies have created 11 percent more new jobs — a total of 1,168 — than in 2019. Most of the new jobs were created by companies from China, the United States and Germany.

About 3,600 more positions are expected to be offered by these enterprises in the next three years, according to data from SRF, Switzerland’s public broadcaster.

In fact, Switzerland is one of the very few countries that have been able to attract international companies to its shores in 2020, a notoriously bad year for the global economy.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s economy is on the up despite the coronavirus pandemic

Experts believe this is due to the country’s strengths, including political, economic and financial conditions.

“Even in a time of crisis, Switzerland scored thanks to its stability, predictability and security”, said Patrik Wermelinger, member of the executive board of Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE), which promotes the country abroad on behalf of the federal government and the cantons.

There are also other reasons that had prompted foreign companies to come to Switzerland in 2020, despite the economic uncertainty and travel restrictions.

“Protection of legal rights, freedom, and personal responsibility are stronger in Switzerland than in many other countries, even in times of pandemic”, said SGE’s co-president Walter Schönholzer.

Switzerland’s attractiveness is also boosted by studies showing the country’s economy remains the strongest in the world.

Even though the health crisis plunged Switzerland’s economic activity into a “historic” 8.2-percent slump in the second quarter of  2020, the country still boasts the world’s most resilient economy, according to research by an insurance and reinsurance company Swiss Re. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a 3.5-percent rebound in Switzerland’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.

It said Switzerland’s economy absorbed the shock of the pandemic better than other European countries and it “has navigated the Covid-19 pandemic well”.

IMF added that Switzerland’s “early, strong, and sustained public health and economic policy response has helped contain the contraction of activity relative to other European countries”.