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How to find English language jobs in Switzerland

Switzerland is a multilingual country but English is not one of the four national languages. Yet it is a requirement for many jobs.

How to find English language jobs in Switzerland
You can search for a job yourself or go through various sources. Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

New arrival to Switzerland and don’t speak a Swiss language? Or do you work in a profession for which there is demand in English. 

Here’s what you need to know about finding a job in Switzerland as an English speaker. 

What English-speaking job options are there? 

The most obvious option is teaching, but only if you have a teaching degree and certificate. No school will hire someone based only on the fact that the person’s mother tongue is English.

Most possibilities are in international schools and language schools, and, for those with advanced degrees, at universities.

You can also give English lessons privately; usually a teaching degree is not required for this kind of tutoring.

However, there are also many other industries where fluency in English is a definite advantage. They include international organisations — typically United Nations agencies in Geneva — or multinational corporations that have offices or headquarters in Switzerland.

The type of positions that typically require knowledge of English are in internet technologies, banking and financial services, and tourism (including hotels), although other branches that have international clients may also need English- speaking personnel.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is the 13th salary in Switzerland and how is it calculated?

So how do you go about finding vacancies for English-language jobs?

Other than contacting companies and organisations directly, you can go through a recruitment agencies such as Adecco or Manpower. If they find you a job you will not have to pay anything; the employer will be charged for their services.

There are other resources as well where you can do your own search.

First and foremost is The Local’s own search engine where industries are listed by categories.

Other resources include Jobs.ch and Glassdoor.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of networking — in other words, relying on your friends, acquaintances, former co-workers, and social media — in your search.

Sites such as LinkedIn, Executives International, and various Facebook groups, just to mention a few possibilities, are good sources of positions where English is required or useful.

What to keep in mind when applying or interviewing for a job.

You will need a CV and a cover letter, and the Swiss have specific requirements in this matter.

For instance, CVs should be written in the language of the employment ad. If an ad is in German, for example, and asks for applications in English, then it might be a good idea to submit the CV in both English and German. By all means get the help of a translator to make sure your CV is faultless.

Along with a headshot photo, you need to include information such as education, professional experience, languages, special skills, additional activities and hobbies, and references.

Also, Swiss employers love certificates, so include as many that are relevant to the job as you have.

Questions your employer is not allowed to ask during an interview

It is against the law to ask applicants anything about their private life —such as plans for pregnancies, sexual orientation, or anything else that is not related to professional qualifications.

A new topic that can’t be brought up either is whether the applicant is vaccinated against Covid.

As The Local explained in an article on in May, as vaccination is not compulsory in Switzerland, employers are not allowed to ask candidates during a job interview whether they have had their shots.

They can, however, impose  general protective measures such as masks or social distancing.

READ MORE: Do I need to be vaccinated to get a new job in Switzerland?

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MAP: The best cantons for business in Switzerland

From tax rules to staffing, airport access and education - here's the latest ranking on which areas of Switzerland are the most attractive to businesses.

MAP: The best cantons for business in Switzerland

Switzerland is undoubtedly one of the major global hubs for business – its central European location, neutrality, and connections to international organisations make it a great place to do business.

But which cantons have it better and why?

The main measure cantons can take to attract businesses is to revise their tax rules, and tax reforms over the past few years have shown results in attractiveness to companies, according to Credit Suisse’s 2022 locational quality study.

READ ALSO: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?

The lender has assessed the tax burden based on its tax indices for legal entities and private individuals to see how attractive a region may be. Corporate taxes on profit and capital as well as taxes on income and wealth for private individuals are taken into consideration.

Additionally, the Swiss bank looked into the availability of specialist labour and highly qualified personnel, basing this index on the level of education of the residents, inbound commuters and cross-border commuters of a region.

How accessible the canton is to the population, workers, and commuters was also a factor taken into consideration.

READ ALSO: Cost of living: The most – and least – expensive cantons in Switzerland

What are the most attractive cantons?

Credit Suisse attached a locational quality indicator (LQI) to each Swiss canton, with the best being +2.5 and the worst being -2.0. The map visualisation makes it clear that there is a cluster of business-friendly cantons: in German-speaking Switzerland.

Geneva, in the French-speaking region, also scores high, which is not a surprise, as the canton is home to many international organisations.

Still, the most attractive canton for business is, for the second year in a row, Zug, ahead of Basel-City, Zurich and Geneva.

Canton Aargau has suffered the most significant ranking loss, dropping two places just behind Nidwalden and Schwyz in 7th place. On the other hand, the cantons of Schaffhausen and Valais, in particular, have become more attractive, each climbing one place.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland is no longer the tax haven it used to be

Nidwalden, Zug, and Appenzell Innerrhoden are fiscally more attractive

Zug takes the overall top place for a combination of factors, but critical changes in tax policy have brought other cantons higher on the ranking - especially since tax reforms are easier to implement than measures to attract more qualified workers, for example.

Schaffhausen has reduced taxes significantly for private individuals, climbing six places in the Credit Suisse tax index for private individuals.

Also worthy of note is Schwyz, which has become more attractive for private individuals by reducing the cantonal tax multiple considerably from 150 to 120, closing the gap to first-placed Zug.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How where you live in Switzerland impacts how much income tax you pay

As part of Switzerland’s corporate tax reform, a small number of cantons have once again reduced their corporate tax rates this year.

The most considerable reductions have been observed in the cantons of Valais and Jura, each climbing one place to 20th and 22nd respectively in the tax index for legal entities, which is based on the tax burden faced by companies with varying profit situations in all Swiss municipalities.

However, a number of other cantons remain more fiscally attractive: The top places remain unchanged, with Nidwalden leading the way, just in front of Zug and Appenzell Innerrhoden.

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