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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Covid rates are falling, more foreign workers needed and Roger Federer's Switzerland gets a new Hollywood companion.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Food labels may not list ingredients accurately. Photo bx Laura James / Pexels

The number of Covid cases in Switzerland is dropping

Even though no coronavirus restrictions have been in place in Switzerland since April 1st, the number of new infections is declining.

In its new weekly situation report on Tuesday, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) indicates that about 40,000 infections have been recorded in Switzerland since April 5th, which means that roughly 5,700 cases had been registered each day during the seven-day period.

This number is significantly lower than up to 30,000 daily cases recorded on some days in March.

There are also fewer Covid patients in Swiss ICUs — 89 on April 11th, down from about 140 just weeks ago.

Labels on foods sold in Switzerland could be misleading

A consumer association is French-speaking Switzerland (FRC) is warning that due to the shortage of certain common imports from Ukraine, replacement products are used to manufacture foods, without the change in composition being indicated on labels.

For instance, 45 percent of the sunflower oil consumed in Europe, which is used to manufacture a variety of foods,  comes from Ukraine. Some countries like France and Germany, from which Switzerland imports many foods, want to replace sunflower by rapeseed or palm oil, without modifying the labels

FRC also points out that Switzerland imports 60 percent of the feed consumed by livestock, and substitutions could contain  genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) without consumers being informed of the change.

Lack of workers hinders Switzerland’s economic growth

Switzerland’s economy has largely recovered from the pandemic, but the country is facing a different problem now: while plenty of jobs are available, there are not enough qualified people to fill them.

Currently there is a shortage of 85,000 specialists in all branches, a number which is expected to reach 365,000 in 2025.

Human resources agency Michael Page found in a recent survey that the hotel and catering industry is creating most new jobs, but there are not enough workers to be recruited for these positions.

One of the reasons for this scarcity is that opportunities for vocational training (apprenticeship) for jobs in this sector have decreased by more than 40 percent.  

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

When Roger met Anne… magic happened

In 2021, Switzerland’s tourism body recruited tennis champ and national hero Roger Federer to make a promotional video with American actor Robert de Niro. The result was a witty clip that went viral:

In a new, just-released video, Federer teamed up with yet another Hollywood star, Anne Hathaway, to promote the “Grand Tour of Switzerland”.

You can see the funny clip here:

READ MORE: Switzerland’s ten most beautiful villages you have to visit

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Unemployed foreigners, sexist work ads, and other news: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the latest happenings.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Zug helps unemployed expatriates find new jobs

Out of the 1,300 current job seekers in Zug, a relatively high proportion of around 300 people are foreign employees. This is due to the fact that an above-average number of international  companies — mostly in raw materials, chemical and financial services sectors — are based in the low-tax canton.

However, according to a report by public broadcaster SRF, finding a job is more difficult there because most foreigners in Zug are highly specialised in their fields and can’t easily switch from one industry to another.

The canton is now helping unemployed foreigners back into the job market — for instance, by setting up job fairs where job seekers meet recruiters and companies looking for personnel.

 “Zug is a very attractive job market, and if we help the unemployed expats, many can gain a professional foothold here again”, according to Gianni Bomio, president of the canton’s Association for Labour Market Measures.

READ MORE: MAP: Where do Switzerland’s English-speakers live?

Swiss bank blasted for sexist advert

Postfinance,  a financial services unit of Swiss Post, is looking to hire software developers, but only those who  — according to an ad placed on the LinkedIn’s career platform  — “do not devote working hours to the fight for equality”.

Specifically, it seeks employees who want to work out “the difference between 0 and 1 and not between XX and XY” — the former referring to codes and the latter to male and female chromosomes.

While the advertisement was intended to be clever, “with this text, Postfinance is massively devaluing the fight for equality”, said Agota Lavoyer, an expert on sexualised violence.

In its defense, Postfinance responded that its ad was misunderstood.

“The message is that equality is firmly anchored in the culture at Postfinance and is so normal that employees do not have to spend any time on the job thinking about it”, said spokesperson Dörte Horn.

Now is a good time to sell your house

Property prices have skyrocketed in recent months, and a house today costs almost 30 percent more than a decade ago, according to real estate consultancy firm Iazi. And in certain high-demand areas like Zurich and the Lake Geneva region, prices are significantly higher.

Ruedi Tanner, president of the Swiss Chamber of Brokers (CSC) said owners who are selling their properties now “have clearly chosen a good time”.

The demand is such that “in many regions, there are hardly any more offers on the property market”, he added.

READ MORE: Swiss property prices see strongest rise in years

Idyllic Ticino village a hub of criminal activity

When the Italian-speaking canton published its annual statistics recently, many were astonished (and not in a good way) to discover that a small commune of  Riva San Vitale registered 791 crimes in 2021.

This means the crime rate has increased by 1313 percent compared to previous year. “When I read that, I was flabbergasted,” said Antonio Guidali, mayor of the 2,600-resident community.

It turns out, however, that there is no need to rush for bullet-proof vests; according to police reports, only two residents, who committed several hundred cases of insurance fraud, are to blame for the staggering crime rate.

The statistical anomaly occurred because each single case of fraud has been registered as an individual offense

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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