Jobs in Switzerland: Foreigners 'less likely to be hired than Swiss nationals'

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Jobs in Switzerland: Foreigners 'less likely to be hired than Swiss nationals'
Study shows online recruiters discriminate against foreigners. Photo by AFP

Swiss recruiters discriminate against foreign nationals on employment websites, a new large-scale study shows.


An analysis by the Swiss National Science Foundation showed that, on average, foreigners were 6.5 percent less likely than Swiss nationals to be contacted by recruiters for an interview. 

“This discrimination was particularly pronounced among immigrants from the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, who often have to battle prejudice”, said Daniel Kopp, an economist at the Swiss Institute for Business Cycle Research, who participated in the study that analysed more than three million decisions made by recruiters over 10 months.

The research team also found that foreign jobseekers had less chance to be called for an interview around noon and late in the day, when recruiters typically spend less time evaluating CVs.

“This pattern supports the hypothesis that unconscious discrimination plays a certain role”, Kopp said.

READ MORE: 'Foreigners rather than equals': How Switzerland is failing immigrants 


This is not the first study spotlighting discrimination in employment practices.

Similar research carried out in October 2019 found that people who are not of Swiss origin have less chances of getting a job.

This study by National Center of Competence in Research, which analyses migration and mobility in Switzerland, revealed that immigrants who become Swiss citizens but who have distinctly foreign names or are visibly of other ethnic backgrounds, don’t have the same opportunities to get hired as their native Swiss counterparts.

They must submit 30 percent more applications than native Swiss candidates in order to be invited to a job interview — even if their qualifications are the same, the study found.

"While employment rates and wages of immigrants are high in international comparison, immigrants are still disadvantaged: their unemployment rates are higher and salaries are lower than those of native Swiss”, the study’s authors concluded.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What non-EU nationals (including Britons) need to know about Swiss work permits? 

Out of Switzerland’s 8.6 million residents, 2.176 million are foreign nationals. That number doesn’t include about 330,000 cross-border workers who commute daily to their Swiss jobs from France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. 



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