Challenges that Living and Working in Switzerland Holds

in Switzerland

Looking for work is never an easy task, and it is especially difficult in a country like Switzerland where the talent pool is large and extremely well-qualified. Add to this a very rigid hiring protocol used by the Swiss recruiters and you easily end up in a situation where an experienced and talented individual simply cannot secure a suitable position. Yes, this may sound very odd and it does indeed.  

Well, the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough Switzerland jobs available. In fact, many of these jobs go unfilled for many months for reasons they seem quite unclear to those searching and to those hiring. Well, I believe that the Swiss job market is a cobweb where the supply of talent cannot often make it through to the demand side simply because most of the jobseekers don’t know how to maneuver through this cobweb. Consider this - 70% of the Swiss jobs go totally unadvertised, making it a necessity to quickly and effectively establish a personal network which will provide access to employment opportunities. But at the same time the vast majority of jobseekers hang on for hours on the Swiss job-boards scouring through the ads and relying on these ads as the only source of job leads.  

But aside from this, there are additional challenges to be faced by the Swiss jobseekers. What follows is a list of  these challenges along with suggested solutions.

1: Cost of Living

According to studies, the cost of living in Switzerland is among the top ten in the world. If you can quickly secure one of the countless Switzerland jobs then you should have more than enough to live comfortably. But if your job-search drags on for months you must tighten up your belt and live on a low budget. And of all your expenses accommodation will be the one item that drains your wallet the most. An additional complexity is that the Swiss landlords are notoriously fussy about who gets “allowed” to live in their apartments. It is for this reason that the only practical option for those seeking low-budget lodging is to co-share an apartment which can be done through sites such as Freeloaders or Airbnb.

2: Language

Undoubtedly there is a huge number of Switzerland jobs available to English-speakers but a basic knowledge of one of the three official Swiss languages, namely German, French and Italian, is a necessity. Knowing the language will not only broaden to pool of available employment opportunities but will make it so much easier to navigate the job market (think networking). So, take language classes before you arrive or right after you have landed.

3: The Right to Work in Switzerland

If you are an EU/ EFTA citizen, you are allowed to stay in Switzerland without a formal residence permit for a period of three months. And even after this period is over you can, theoretically, extend your stay for many more months and continue with your search for jobs in Switzerland.

For non-EU/EFTA citizens the rules are definitely more stringent. The nationals of these third-countries are only allowed to work in Switzerland if their qualifications are compliant with Swiss standards and if their profession falls under the ‘skilled labor’ category. They can only enter the country if they have a guaranteed offer from a Swiss employer.


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Lisa Braker has 1 articles online

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Challenges that Living and Working in Switzerland Holds

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This article was published on 2013/06/28