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Working in Switzerland

General information on working life in Switzerland

As a citizen of one of the EU-27/EFTA member states, you do not need a work permit in Switzerland. Thanks to the bilateral agreement, any citizen of an EU-27/EFTA member state may look for work in Switzerland and can apply for a residence permit with their employment contract. Complete application documents in Switzerland include a cover letter or letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and copies of all certificates. The curriculum vitae should be in tabular form, no longer than 2 pages and include a photograph. It may also happen that samples of writing or work are requested. Special attention is paid to diplomas, references and certificates. In most cases, nothing will work here without these documents. In the final phase of the application it can also happen that references are asked for during the interview. These could be previous superiors or seminar leaders, for example. The most important thing is that they are people who know you well. These references should be informed beforehand so that they are prepared and speak positively about you. Because they will definitely be contacted.

Completed vocational training is held in higher esteem in Switzerland than it is in Germany. In my experience, this is because the requirements and level of training in Switzerland are higher and usually take longer. There are quite a few professions that take 4 years to complete.

In the case of job vacancies, we always talk about percentages. For example 100%, 80% or 50%. The words full time and part time are not used. 100% corresponds to the German full-time designation and 80% or 50% corresponds to the proportional workload of a full-time position. It is not uncommon to work 80% or 90%, these workloads are even quite common.

The following basic conditions are generally valid and good to know. The statutory minimum leave is 4 weeks, for employees under 20 years of age 5 weeks. Older employees are usually also granted more leave, this is not stipulated by law, but it is common practice. Women get 14 weeks of pregnancy leave directly after the birth, during this time they get 80% (maximum 196 CHF per day) of their original salary. The probationary period is a maximum of 3 months. Within the probationary period, the period of notice is 7 days. After the probationary period, the period of notice is 1-3 months, depending on the industry and company affiliation, and 3-6 months for executive employees (managers). There is no strict protection against dismissal in Switzerland. A termination with observance of the period of notice is possible at any time without giving reasons.

Working hours tend to be long, with weekly working hours for full-time employees of 42 to 45 hours being the rule. There are no regular strikes by trade unions, as is well known from other European countries, in Switzerland. The wage level is generally high, but you should inform yourself in advance. Depending on the region, very different wages are paid. The wage differences between men and women are on average greater than in other European countries. By law, men and women are equal, but the traditional distribution of roles is changing only slowly. Surveys show that the Swiss are more satisfied with their work. Absences due to illness are less frequent and, in my experience, shorter than in other countries. The topic of further education is more pronounced and remains topical even with increasing age.

Looking for work in Switzerland. In the picture you can see a jobseeker looking for jobs on his mobile phone. On the left newspapers with job advertisements and on the right an open laptop and a clipboard.

Job search

In addition to the job section of the local daily newspapers, regional small advertisements and the Internet are recommended for job searches. In the following I would like to list some links of job portals.


Profession-specific and sector-specific job exchanges

There are specialized job exchanges for many professions and industries. Often an email subscription can be set up there, which informs you about new jobs. Job portal for medical personnel
medTalents Vacancies for health professionals Job portal for care professions
Hotel Career Job offers for the gastronomy and hotel industry
IngJobs Vacancies for engineers
WorkerJobs Job offers for craftsmen
ictcareer Job portal for computer scientists and IT industry
Krippenstellen Vacancies for educators
Schuljobs Job offers for teachers and educators Substitutes for teachers and educators


employment agency

In addition to the state employment agency, there are also private employment agencies that take over the job search for you. This is highly recommended as an additional option. About the basic conditions one should inform certainly before absolutely.

Arbeit.Swiss Public Employment Service
Adecco Known Private Employment Agency
Manpower Known Private Employment Agency
AVG-Seco List of approved private employment agencies


I wish you good luck in your job search and good luck.

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