With its excellent quality of life, high wages and low tax rates, it's no surprise that Switzerland is increasingly popular with job-seeking graduates
With a population of 8.6 million, Switzerland is a relatively small country. Yet despite this and the recent challenges of the economic crisis, it still boasts one of most stable economies in the world, with an impressive unemployment rate of just 2.3%.
Known for its coffee, chocolate, cheese and cuckoo clocks, almost two-thirds of Switzerland's territory is dominated by the Alps. This beautiful scenery, coupled with the country's modern cities, provides plenty for you to explore in your free time. As it's a multilingual nation, you'll also be well placed to pick up a second or third language, which is sure to impress on your CV.
Jobs in Switzerland
Many foreign workers, especially highly-skilled ones, successfully find work in Switzerland.
However, with a relatively small labour market it can be difficult for foreign graduates to find work. Competition for jobs is fierce, especially more recently as Swiss employers have begun to favour locals over those from overseas. International workers may have more luck in major Swiss cities such as Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne and Zürich rather than in smaller, rural areas. However, living in Swiss cities is costly: Zürich and Geneva are regularly voted among the most expensive cities in the world, but this should, at least partly, be counterbalanced by the country's high wages.
The Swiss economy is dominated by the service sector. Switzerland also has a thriving tourism industry, with hospitality jobs available throughout the country. Those interested in banking and insurance careers can find opportunities in Zürich, and those looking for a career in chemicals or pharmaceuticals will find vacancies in Basel.
Popular graduate jobs
Switzerland also houses a number of multinational companies including:
- Credit Suisse
- Roche Group
- Zurich Insurance.
The United Nations, World Trade Organisation, the Red Cross, the World Economic Forum and the International Olympic Committee also call Switzerland home.
Search for jobs in Switzerland at:
- Jobs.ch - available in English, German and French.
- The Local
- Xpat Jobs Switzerland
Switzerland is currently struggling with a lack of skilled workers in the following areas:
- financial services
The hospitality industry also finds it difficult to recruit staff. Graduates with skills and qualifications in these areas are in high demand.
How to get a job in Switzerland
To apply for a job in Switzerland you'll need a CV, cover letter and educational certificates. You should write your application in the language of the job advert/company, be that German, French or Italian, unless specifically asked to submit your application in English.
CVs should be no longer than two sides of A4 and cover letters no more than one. It isn't unusual to include a photograph alongside your CV.
Speculative applications are also welcome, but you don't need to include educational transcripts or references at this stage.
If your application is successful, you'll be invited to attend an interview. In larger companies the selection process may involve psychometric testing and assessment centres.
Networking also yields successful results, as Swiss job vacancies are often filled through contacts. Join social media sites such as LinkedIn and follow potential employers on Twitter. Be sure to maintain a professional online presence and make use of any personal contacts you might have.
As Switzerland is home to so many multinational companies, it may be possible to secure a job at an organisation in the UK, before asking to be seconded to its Swiss offices.
Tourism is big business in Switzerland and the sector provides numerous employment opportunities for Swiss nationals and foreign workers alike. The majority of seasonal and summer jobs revolve around the hospitality industry. For example, you could find work in bars, restaurants and hotels, or in one of the many ski resorts in the Alps, which frequently welcome seasonal workers. You could also instruct winter sports - English-speaking ski and snowboard instructors are always in demand.
Volunteeringis worth considering if you can afford to work unpaid. Any experience of this nature looks great on your CV. Not only will it put your language skills to the test and help you to understand Swiss culture, it provides you with an opportunity to make valuable contacts, which will prove useful when trying to secure more permanent work in the country.
Voluntary opportunities include community projects, teaching schemes and working alongside international organisations. In rural areas you could get involved in conservation projects, working in agricultural, mountain and forest settings.
For voluntary opportunities, see:
The demand for English teachers is usually quite low, as most nationals develop a strong understanding of the language from an early age. What's more, English is widely used in the workplace.
As such, competition for teaching positions in state schools is fierce. Other opportunities may exist in private or boarding schools, or in hotel schools which offer training to hospitality employees.
If you do manage to secure a teaching post, the pay is usually very good. For more information, visiti-to-i - Teach English in Switzerland.
For Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) opportunities in Switzerland, see:
TheBritish Council Language Assistants programmeenables undergraduates and graduates of any discipline, with an AS level in French or German, to work in Switzerland as an English language assistant. You'll earn around £2,200 to £3,000 per month.
As Switzerland has so many big, multinational companies you may be able to uncover internship opportunities by looking on their individual websites.
SWISS, the national airline for Switzerland, provides six-month internships for Bachelors graduates in a range of corporate areas including communication, event management, finance, HR, IT, operations, sales and marketing, and procurement. Opportunities are available in Zürich, Geneva and Basel. For more information, seeSWISS internships.
Credit Suisse also offers in-depth and summer internships in its Swiss offices. To find out more, seeCredit Suisse internship opportunities.
Roche provide 12-month opportunities to Bachelors, Masters and PhD students in areas such as life sciences, technology, engineering and business. Learn more atRoche internships.
Each yearIAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience)provides a range of traineeships to undergraduate students working towards a science, engineering, technology or applied arts degree. Placements usually last from six to 12 weeks over the summer.
Following the UK's departure from the EU, travel rules for UK citizens changed on 1 January 2021. You can travel to countries in the Schengen Area (which includes Switzerland) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.
If UK nationals plan to work in Switzerland, or stay for more than three months, you must apply for the correct visa and work permit. There are different types of Swiss visas and permits depending on the kind of work you do and the length of your employment. However, as a result of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, UK jobseekers can no longer go to Switzerland to look for work.
Only a limited number of third country workers (which includes the UK) are admitted - primarily those who fulfil management level, specialist or other qualified work.
European Union (EU) and EFTA (European Free Trade Association - including Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) citizens do not need a visa to work in Switzerland. Citizens of EU and EFTA countries can come to Switzerland, look for a job and work for up to three months without the need for a work permit.
If you intend to stay for longer than three months, you'll need a residence permit. To acquire one, you'll need to register with the communal authorities where you're living. You'll need:
- a valid ID card or passport
- a certificate of employment
- accounting records, if you intend to become self-employed.
Within three months of arriving in Switzerland you must also take out valid health insurance.
Switzerland is renowned for being a multilingual country. German, French, Italian and Romansh are all spoken in different regions.
It's important to know which language is spoken in the area where you intend to work. German is the main language and is spoken in central and eastern regions. French is spoken in the west, and Italian in the south.
While English is frequently spoken in the workplace, you'll still be expected to have a good grasp of German, French or Italian depending on where you work.
There are lots of language courses in the UK as well as websites and podcasts to prepare you if your language skills aren't up to scratch.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
Thanks to the Bologna Process, UK higher education qualifications are directly comparable to their Swiss counterparts. So if you're heading to the country to work with a UK Bachelors, Masters or PhD, these will usually be recognised and accepted by Swiss employers. However, check with employers before applying.
To find out more about the recognition of qualifications, seeENIC-NARIC.
What it's like to work in Switzerland
According to Swiss law, the majority of workers can work for a maximum of 45 hours per week, although most people work a 40-hour week, Monday to Friday.
All Swiss employees are entitled to at least four weeks paid holiday per year, and young people up to the age of 20 are entitled to five.
The number of public holidays you're entitled to depends on where in Switzerland you live and work. There are five national public holidays, including New Year's Day, Good Friday, Ascension Day, National Day (1 August) and Christmas Day. There are 21 regional public holidays, of which your region will celebrate a handful.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Switzerland.
On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like
Something went wrong. Please try again.
Thank you for rating the page
If UK nationals plan to work in Switzerland, or stay for more than three months, you must apply for the correct visa and work permit. There are different types of Swiss visas and permits depending on the kind of work you do and the length of your employment.
Yes, you can live in Switzerland and work for a foreign client or employer.What jobs are in high demand in Switzerland? ›
Top 15: The Most In-Demand Jobs in Switzerland in 2022
- Civil Engineer. ...
- SAP Consultant. ...
- IT Technician. ...
- Financial Advisor / Wealth Manager. ...
- Welder. ...
- Nurse. ...
- Software Developer. ...
- Project Manager.
If you are lucky enough to land yourself a job in Switzerland, you can rest easy in the fact that the average Swiss salary is one of the highest in Europe, but so is the amount of work you are expected to put in. Switzerland's work culture is determined and steadfast.Can UK citizens work in Switzerland after Brexit? ›
Before Brexit , UK citizens benefited from Europe's free movement of persons agreement and could travel, live, go on holiday and work anywhere in the EU and Switzerland without any special permits, restrictions or quotas. As of January 1, 2021, this is no longer the case.Do jobs in Switzerland pay well? ›
Over the past decade, Swiss workers have been among the highest-paid in the world. According to OECD, Switzerland's average income has been CHF 64,824, and it has been steady for the past years.Do I have to pay tax in UK if I work in Switzerland? ›
The UK has a double taxation agreement with Switzerland so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.Do you pay tax where you live or work in Switzerland? ›
Who has to pay tax in Switzerland? Swiss residents and temporary residents working in Switzerland must pay income tax on their worldwide earnings. You'll be considered a Swiss resident for tax purposes if you remain in the country for more than 90 days (or 30 days if you're working).How long can a UK citizen work in Switzerland? ›
The EU has revised Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 on visas in the light of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. With the revision of this regulation, UK citizens are exempted from visa requirements for a short-term stay (90 days in any 180-day period) for the Schengen area (therefore including Switzerland).Can you get a job in Switzerland if you only speak English? ›
Despite Switzerland's multilingual workforce, there is still demand for English-speakers in Switzerland. Jobs in Switzerland for English speakers are widely advertised, including on several of the job sites above, as well as on: Glassdoor.
Q1. How much money do you need to live comfortably in Switzerland? Answer- In most Swiss cities, a single person would need a net salary of 3,500 CHF per month to live comfortably, while a family of four would need a net salary of at least 9,000 CHF per month.Can I move to Switzerland without a job? ›
If you wish to settle in Switzerland without taking up gainful employment, you must apply for a residence permit from the cantonal immigration and employment market authorities. Depending on your nationality, you must also obtain a visa from the Swiss representation abroad.Is moving to Switzerland a good idea? ›
The standard of living in Switzerland is extremely high and its economy stable, plus unemployment is low. Therefore, it is ideal for expats who want to relocate and take up a new position. Salaries in Switzerland are amongst the highest in the world and working conditions good.What salary is considered middle class in Switzerland? ›
In 2018, single-person households with gross monthly incomes of between CHF 4,094 and CHF 8,773 and families of two adults and two children with monthly incomes between CHF 8,597 and CHF 18,423 were considered middle class.How many hours a week do the Swiss work? ›
Under Swiss employment law, regular working hours should be a maximum of 45 hours per week. However, working hours in Switzerland may vary depending on the employer, position, and the industry in which one works. For instance, people in full-time posts usually work an average of 41 hours per week.Can British people move to Switzerland? ›
Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, and it has become more popular for Britons to relocate there for permanent residency. However, the process of emigrating can be daunting for those unfamiliar with the process.Is it hard to get a Swiss work visa? ›
Obtaining a work permit or employment visa in Switzerland has become increasingly difficult. Non-EU/EFTA nationals who intend to live and work in Switzerland should be aware that the Swiss government has permit quotas in place, which only allow a certain number of permits to be distributed every year.Why Switzerland salary is so high? ›
Swiss salaries are amongst the highest in the world which reflects the high cost of living and an attractive tax-rate. Switzerland has one of the most advantageous taxation systems in the world and although tax in Switzerland is not a one-size fits all situation.Are taxes high in Switzerland? ›
The European nation of Switzerland is considered to be an international tax haven due to low tax levels and privacy laws. This image, however, may be overstated since only very wealthy individuals or corporations can afford to buy their way out of normal taxes.Is healthcare free in Switzerland? ›
Even though Switzerland's healthcare system is universal, there is no free public healthcare in Switzerland. Instead, all residents of Switzerland must pay for their own private health insurance. This applies to both Swiss nationals and foreign expats.
The 1977 Switzerland – UK Double Taxation Convention entered into force on 7 October 1978. It has been amended by protocols signed on 5 March 1981, 17 December 1993, 26 June 2007, 7 September 2009 and 30 November 2017. It is effective in the UK from: 1 April 1978 for Corporation Tax.How can I avoid paying UK tax when working abroad? ›
Whether you need to pay depends on if you're classed as 'resident' in the UK for tax. If you're not UK resident, you will not have to pay UK tax on your foreign income. If you're UK resident, you'll normally pay tax on your foreign income. But you may not have to if your permanent home ('domicile') is abroad.How long can I work abroad without tax implications UK? ›
You can live abroad and still be a UK resident for tax, for example if you visit the UK for more than 183 days in a tax year. Pay tax on your income and profits from selling assets (such as shares) in the normal way. You usually have to pay tax on your income from outside the UK as well.How much tax do you pay on your salary in Switzerland? ›
Swiss taxes usually amount to around 15 to 35 percent of your salary. There are many different types of taxes in Switzerland, which all have their own various deductions and exemptions, so we recommend consulting a tax advisor for advice on paying your taxes if you earn a large income.How long can you stay in Switzerland without paying tax? ›
For example, in Switzerland, you are considered to be subject to unlimited tax liability as soon as one of the following two points applies: In case of unemployment: The person stays in Switzerland for 90 consecutive days. When pursuing a job: The person stays in Switzerland for 30 consecutive days.What is Switzerland's minimum wage? ›
Advertisement. The minimum wage of 23 francs was adopted in Geneva in 2020. To comply with the law, the hourly rate must be reassessed each year on the basis of the canton's consumer price index for the month of August, according to the the Council of State. That is why it rose to 23.27 in 2021.What do you need to move to Switzerland from UK? ›
To move to Switzerland you must go through these two steps: Apply for either a Swiss work visa, study visa or family visa. Get the appropriate residence permit. Get the Swiss C Residence Permit (the permanent residence permit).What is the average salary in Switzerland? ›
|Job sector||Avg gross monthly wage (CHF)|
|Human health and social work||6,406|
|Information and communication||8,724|
|Professional, scientific, and technical||7,873|
Cost of Living in Switzerland.
|Rent Per Month||Edit|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||1,606.23Fr.|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||1,264.41Fr.|
The long answer: It depends on your skills, your industry, the company culture. Although it is entirely possible to find a job in Switzerland without speaking the local language, a few caveats do apply. First, you do need to the right combination of skills and experience to apply for the English speaking jobs.
Cost of Living in Switzerland
One of the reasons that prices in Switzerland are a bit higher than average is due to the higher wages in the country. In a report by the European Intelligence Unit (EIOU) in 2021, two Swiss cities, Zurich and Geneva, were in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world.
|Living expenses in Switzerland (excluding rent)||Geneva average cost|
|Single person, per year||CHF 17,328|
|University student, per month||CHF 1,062|
|4 person family, per month||CHF 5,362|
|4 person family, per year||CHF 64,344|
24.83 Fr. The average hourly pay for a Cleaner is 24.83 Fr. 13 Fr.Is Switzerland friendly to foreigners? ›
Switzerland is a very welcoming country, with 25% of its population being foreign individuals.Is living in Switzerland Easy? ›
In 2021, the OECD Better Life Index found that Switzerland is above average for OECD countries in subjective well-being, jobs and earnings, income and wealth, health status, social connections, environmental quality, education and skills, work-life balance, housing, and personal security.How long can I stay in Switzerland without a job? ›
Jobseekers wishing to stay in Switzerland for up to three months do not require a residence permit. If they intend to remain here for longer than three months, then they need to contact the migration authorities; the same rule applies even when the jobseeker receives unemploy- ment benefits from abroad.How can I get a job in Switzerland from UK? ›
How to get a job in Switzerland. To apply for a job in Switzerland you'll need a CV, cover letter and educational certificates. You should write your application in the language of the job advert/company, be that German, French or Italian, unless specifically asked to submit your application in English.Which part of Switzerland is best to live in? ›
- Risch, Canton Zug.
- Altendorf, Canton Schwyz.
- Walchwil, Canton Zug.
- Meggen, Canton Lucerne.
- Meilen, Canton Zurich.
- Hergiswil, Canton Nidwalden.
- Hünenberg, Canton Zug.
- Baar, Canton Zug.
Most expats in Switzerland agree, however, that the country offers them a better quality of life. They enjoy higher salaries and access to universal healthcare and education. But, truly integrating into local life and making Swiss friends can be tricky. Plus the country is very, very expensive.Do you negotiate salary in Switzerland? ›
In Switzerland, this salary is often negotiated at the end of the year. Annual employee appraisals do not just assess an employee's work, but are also where salary negotiations take place.
The monthly gross wage (median) for academic professions in 2020 was CHF 8,671 (all age groups, women and men). Employees in top and upper management earned CHF 10,531 gross and employees in lower management CHF 8,762. In the R&D sector, employees in upper and top management earned CHF 13,873 (median) in 2020.What is good salary Zurich? ›
The average zurich salary in Switzerland is CHF 100'000 per year or CHF 51.28 per hour. Entry-level positions start at CHF 80'000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to CHF 127'290 per year.How long is a lunch break in Switzerland? ›
The official minimum amount of time given for lunch breaks in Switzerland is 30 minutes. However, most Swiss companies expect a working lunch or official lunch to be around an hour and a half in length. Typically, the more senior the position, the longer your lunch break.Is it illegal to work on Sunday in Switzerland? ›
Occasional and regular work on Sundays
Working on Sundays is generally prohibited in Switzerland. However, working on Sundays is possible, subject to special authorisation and the employee's consent.
The C permit is considered permanent residence and is available to UK citizens after 10 continuous years of living in Switzerland. Other permits exist for relatives, asylum-seekers and cross-border workers. With a C permit and 10 years of continuous residence, UK citizens can apply for Swiss citizenship.How can I move to Switzerland from UK? ›
To move to Switzerland you must go through these two steps: Apply for either a Swiss work visa, study visa or family visa. Get the appropriate residence permit. Get the Swiss C Residence Permit (the permanent residence permit).What salary is required in Switzerland? ›
Answer- In most Swiss cities, a single person would need a net salary of 3,500 CHF per month to live comfortably, while a family of four would need a net salary of at least 9,000 CHF per month.How easy is it to get a Swiss work permit? ›
Obtaining a work permit or employment visa in Switzerland has become increasingly difficult. Non-EU/EFTA nationals who intend to live and work in Switzerland should be aware that the Swiss government has permit quotas in place, which only allow a certain number of permits to be distributed every year.Is moving to Switzerland hard? ›
If you meet the requirements, the process of moving to Switzerland is fairly simple. The greatest hassle you will face is filling out all of the paperwork required to transfer your goods from one home to another.