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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.

Zurich, Switzerland's most populous city. Photo by Samira from Pexels
Zurich, Switzerland's most populous city. Photo by Samira from Pexels

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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TRAVEL NEWS

Delays, cancellations: How Switzerland will be hit by the Lufthansa strike

German airline Lufthansa is set to go on strike on Wednesday, with several routes to and from Switzerland to be impacted, particularly those taking off from Zurich. Here’s what you need to know.

Delays, cancellations: How Switzerland will be hit by the Lufthansa strike

strike on Wednesday by the ground crew of German airline Lufthansa, a codeshare partner and parent company of SWISS, will disrupt a dozen flights leaving from and scheduled to arrive in Switzerland.

Around 1,000 people are set to be directly impacted by the cancellations, Swiss airlines said on Tuesday afternoon. 

A total of 12 flights will be cancelled on the Zurich to Düsseldorf (three return flights) and Geneva to Frankfurt routes (also three return flights). Flights from Zurich to Munich will also be impacted.

As Frankfurt is a major connection hub for long-haul flights, SWISS recommends rebooking for another day.

“Swiss informs its passengers about the flight cancellations and asks them to look for possible alternatives”. 

“Should you still take your flight to Frankfurt or Munich without a confirmed alternative for the onward flight, there is a risk that you will not be able to continue your journey there for several hours or days ” SWISS said.

READ MORE : Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

The strike action was announced for Wednesday, but unions have refused to rule out further strikes in the coming days. 

In total, around 1,000 flights will be cancelled, with 134,000 passengers impacted across Europe. 

Zurich airport particularly hard hit

While the impact of Covid saw the grounding of flights and a surge in the popularity of domestic travel, the world’s airports have roared back into life in 2022 – many to levels above the pandemic. 

As a result, airlines and airport authorities have struggled to keep up, with the consequence being cancelled flights, delays and lost luggage. 

The situation is particularly bad at Zurich Airport, which is Switzerland’s largest. 

Zurich Airport saw an increase of almost 250 percent compared to last year, while passenger levels are fast approaching the highs set before the pandemic. 

The following link provides an overview of the situation at Zurich Airport. 

Reader question: How bad is the situation at Zurich Airport?

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