The ultimate guide to jobs in Switzerland for English speakers
Published on July 21, 2023
Whether you dream of clocking in with a stunning Alpine backdrop or you’re enticed by the country’s high quality of life and excellent public services, you might be intrigued by the prospect of a job in Switzerland. The good news is, there are plenty of jobs in Switzerland for English speakers, and it is entirely possible for a non-native German or French speaker to carve out a successful career in Switzerland.
From the bustling world of IT to the more traditional sectors, we’ve got your bases covered. So, let’s delve into what kind of job you could get! We’ll also review the qualifications you’d need and offer some tips on how to find a job in Switzerland.
Switzerland is home to a high number of multinational companies and international organizations. This means that English-language jobs in Switzerland are varied and span a broad spectrum of sectors. Here are a few industries with notable opportunities:
IT jobs in Switzerland for English speakers are abundant, with many multinational tech companies headquartered or having significant operations in the country. Tech giants such as Google and Microsoft offer numerous positions in which English is the primary language of communication.
Geneva is home to several renowned international organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN) and the Red Cross. These institutions typically operate in English, providing myriad job opportunities.
Jobs in the hospitality and tourism industry can often be secured by English speakers in Switzerland. Positions may range from hotel staff and tour guides to ski instructors and chalet hosts. You’re in luck if you love the mountains, as these jobs are mainly based in the Alps.
Swiss banks are almost as famous as Swiss chocolate, and the financial industry is an excellent source of jobs. From banking to insurance to wealth management, there are many roles available that require English proficiency — though they may also require you to know at least some German.
The qualifications you need to get a job in Switzerland largely depend on the sector and specific role. For IT jobs in Switzerland for English speakers, a degree in computer science, programming skills and relevant certifications are usually expected. Finance roles often require a degree in finance, economics or a related field, coupled with industry-specific certifications.
Being an English speaker is a key advantage in securing many roles, but don’t disregard the benefits of speaking other languages. Even a basic understanding of French or German — or one of Switzerland’s other languages — can significantly boost your chances of finding a job.
Finding a job in Switzerland is like finding a job anywhere. The internet is a key resource, and there are several job websites you’ll want to bookmark (including jobs.ch and Glassdoor.com). Jobs in Geneva and Jobs in Zurich both have a lot of employment opportunities for English speakers, as well.
Otherwise, look to recruitment agencies for help, and network as much as possible; follow people within your industry on LinkedIn or other social networks. Make sure you understand the job market in Switzerland when you’re searching for positions.
It’s also a good idea to research average salaries in your industry before any interview, as salaries in Switzerland tend to be higher than in other countries. If you’re aware of this before you enter into any negotiations, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate.
You may need to concentrate your search on a particular area of the country; Geneva for international organizations, for example, or Zurich for financial institutions. Luckily, there are heaps of wonderful cities in Switzerland that many people would feel lucky to call home.
Yes and no. Switzerland’s workforce comprises approximately 20% foreign workers, so employers will likely be used to receiving applications from non-Swiss nationals. Citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries do not need a visa or permit to work or live in Switzerland.
If you’re a citizen of another country, you will need a work permit and your employer will have to prove that they can’t recruit a Swiss or EU/EFTA national to do that job. In addition, unemployment is low in Switzerland (4.2% in 2022), so there isn’t an abundance of vacancies. However, don’t be put off! With a little perseverance, you can be one of the many foreign workers in Switzerland.
The prospect of securing jobs in Switzerland for English speakers is both an exciting and attainable goal. Whether you want to work in IT, in an intergovernmental agency like the UN or simply spend a ski season here, the Swiss job market likely has something for you. With the right mix of qualifications and an understanding of the Swiss work culture, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career in the heart of Europe.