Working in Switzerland is a goal of many expats. Before you start a job search, it’s good to know the professions that are common in this country. Besides, learning about driving economy sectors and current in-demand jobs will give you a good understanding of the job perspectives in Switzerland.
The top most common job sectors and professions in Switzerland are:
- Healthcare and social, including doctors, nurses, therapists
- Manufacturing and production, including machinists, electrical engineers, production managers
- Wholesale and retail, including cashiers, store managers, warehouse workers
- Education and training, including teachers, child care workers, lecturers
Switzerland has one of the strongest economies in Europe and needs thousands of workers across various industries. Some positions are more common than others, some better paid, some less. In this article, we explore where the majority of Swiss work, how much they earn, and where the largest demand for laborers lies.
Don’t miss this article about the most in-demand jobs in Switzerland.
What are the most common jobs in Switzerland?
Here are official data for the number of workers in each employment area in Switzerland in 2021:
|Professional sector||Number of workers||% from total|
|Healthcare and social work||736.183||14,5|
|Wholesale and retail||593.809||11,7|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||438.995||8,6|
|Education and training||370.887||7,3|
|Other business activities||339.009||6,7|
|Transport, storage and communication||237.829||4,7|
|Financial and insurance activities||227.203||4,5|
|Hotels and restaurants||213.004||4,2|
|Information and communication||174.492||3,4|
Healthcare and social work
The majority of people in Switzerland are employed in healthcare and social work. Healthcare is also a sector with a significant shortage of skilled workers. As a foreigner, you have excellent employment chances if you specialize in medicine or care.
Some of the most common jobs in this area include:
- Medical doctors
- Children’s nurses
- Speech therapists
Jobs in social work are:
- Social worker
- Speech therapist
- Occupational therapist
Average salaries for jobs in healthcare and social work
Doctors and nurses are the most common workers in that industry and earn an average of make around 197,000 CHF and 70,500 CHF, respectively.
Starting salary of a specialized doctor is 8,077 CHF per month, and the median annual salary is 197,000 CHF.
Social workers earn, on average, 70,500 CHF per year. Depending on experience, level of education, location, and other factors, the pay can range from 52,100 CHF to 102,400 CHF.
Learn more about Swiss salaries in this guide.
Manufacturing and production
Switzerland is an industrial country with some of the significant manufacturers in the region. Hence, those companies are among the largest employers on the market.
Some of the Swiss manufacturing companies are:
- Bucher Industries
Some typical jobs in manufacturing and production are:
- Electrical engineers
- Industrial mechanics
- Operations managers
- Production managers
- Production employees
- Quality managers
- Machine and plant operators
- Process mechanics
- SPS programmers
Electrical engineers are very common among employees in Switzerland. They earn an average salary of 96,300 CHF. The salary can range from 75,200 CHF to 134,700 CHF per year.
Production managers enjoy an average annual salary of 100,000 CHF or 51,28 CHF per hour. The salary ranges from 95,000 CHF to 125,000 CHF.
On the other hand, jobs like machinists don’t require a high degree, hence earning less – an average of 66,000 CHF.
Wholesale and retail trade is an important part of the economy with a significant number of workers.
Some of the largest Swiss retailers in various industries are:
- Cargill International
- Mercuria Energy Trading
- Kolmar Group
Typical jobs in Swiss retail are:
- Retail assistant in the retail trade
- Store managers
- Regional retail managers
- Sales consultants
- Logistic workers and managers
- Warehouse workers
- Bookmaker, or betting and lottery operator
Working as a store manager in Switzerland is a decently well-paid job. The annual salary ranges from 67,300 CHF and 111,100 CHF, with an overage of 84.800 CHF.
Cashiers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the retail industry, with an average income of 51.400 CHF. The salary may range between 46,200 CHF and 62,400 CHF.
Warehouse workers earn even less – 49,725 CHF per year or 25,50 CHF per hour.
Education and training
The number of workers and professions in education and training is also extensive. The most common jobs are teachers at traditional schools, teachers at professional schools, and lectures at universities.
In addition to teachers, there are other employees in the education sector, including:
- Child care workers
- Educational specialists
- School administrators
- Social workers
Teacher in Swiss school earns between 4,250 CHF and 13,875 CHF per month. The average salary for this job is 87,000 CHF.
A childcare worker in a kindergarten earns an average of 45,568 CHF per year. However, under some factors, the salary can grow up to 92,000 CHF.
That said, Swiss professors have the highest salaries in Europe; the average salary is around 17,000 CHF per month.
For instance, lecturers at ETH Zurich earn between 213,487 CHF – 280,902 CHF, and docents make an average of 151,675 CHF – 219,090 CHF. Keep in mind that ETH Zurich is one of the leading universities in the country.
Construction is another large employment area for workers in Switzerland.
Some common jobs in the construction industry in Switzerland are:
- Plant mechanics
- Construction equipment operators
- Construction helpers
- Civil engineers
- Concrete and reinforced concrete workers
- Track layers
- Road builders
- Civil engineering specialists
Civil engineers are common in Switzerland, and their average annual income lies at 100,700 CHF. The salary can range from 69,000 CHF to 142,900 CHF. Bricklayers earn about 73,600 CHF per year.
Workers like road builders have an average wage of between 60,000 CHF and 75,244 CHF.
Most popular non-academic jobs in Switzerland
The most popular profession that doesn’t require a degree is commercial clerk. The tasks of this job vary depending on the industry but usually include communication with customers, coworkers, or suppliers to managing finances.
The second typical non-academic job in Switzerland is retail trade specialist. These employees work in sales. They consult customers, present, and take care of goods.
That said, some of the typical jobs without a university degree include:
|Commercial clerk||(KV) EFZ1 Profile B, E + M|
|Medical practice assistant||EFZ|
|Automotive mechatronics technician||EFZ|
|Hearing aid acoustician||EFZ|
|Building services planner||EFZ|
1. EFZ – Federal Certificate of Proficiency
This qualification level means a 3 to 4-year apprenticeship. After receiving EFZ level, you can practice the profession legally, hence, access to the labor market. In Switzerland, there are more than 230 EFZ occupations in various fields.
2. EBA – Federal Vocational Certificate
This qualification level means a worker has completed a 2-year apprenticeship. An EBA degree is required for the lowest and simplest occupations.
Consequently, someone willing to take on one of these professions must have at least these qualifications or the equivalent.
You don’t have a job yet, but want to move to Switzerland? Learn how!
Where do most workers in Switzerland?
The Swiss labor market has clear distinctions where the majority of people work academic jobs. Here are the percentile proportions (the numbers are approximate):
- Managers: 7,5%
- Academic professionals: 26%
- Technical professions: 17%
- Governmental professionals: 13%
- Service workers and retail: 13%
- Skilled workers: 2,5%
- Trade workers: 11%
- Servers/technicians for machinery: 3%
- Helpers, etc.: 5%
You can see the official statistics below. Unfortunately, this data is only available in English.
Current job market in Switzerland
Currently (2023), there are around 114,000 open vacancies in the Swiss labor market. Surprisingly, the number of available vacancies has increased from last year by 60.4%.
Here are the industries with the most open positions. If you plan to work in Switzerland, it’s a good idea to look for a job in one of those areas.
1. Manufacturing industry: 19,300 open jobs
Manufacturing is incredibly developed and similarly very important for the Swiss economy. Consequently, most jobs are available in this sector. The number of open positions in 2022 was 60% higher than in the same time period in 2021.
Besides, the Swiss manufacturing industry is very diverse. You can work in a food, metal, or chemical company.
2. Science and technology: 16,200 open jobs
Science and technology companies are seeking various engineers or researchers.
3. Healthcare: 15,900 open jobs
In Switzerland, the healthcare sector is always hiring new people. Doctors and nurses are in particular demand.
4. Wholesale and retail: 13,000 open jobs
Around 13,000 new employees are needed in Swiss wholesale and retail companies. The number of positions has increased by 78% from 2021.
5. Gastronomy and hotel industry: 10,600 open jobs
The hotel and catering industries are very developed in Switzerland. They drive a significant number of local GDP. Currently, there is a shortage of 10,600 workers, including jobs like waiters, cleaners, managers, cooks, and others.
6. Construction: 7,100 open jobs
Buildings get built every day, but there are not enough people in Switzerland to cover the demand. Hence, the number of vacant positions in construction rose by 24% from the previous year.
7. Computer science and digitization
As in any country, there is always a demand for workers in the IT industry. There are never too many qualified specialists in this area. The number of open positions in Switzerland isn’t publicly available, but we are sure it’s not a few.
Moreover, IT jobs are typical across all industries and companies. Today, almost any employer needs a specialist in this area.