As a small, export-based economy facing global competition, it is crucial for Switzerland to continually increase its innovative strength, locational appeal and productivity. This in turn calls for a well-functioning, adaptable labour market that allows Switzerland to retain and create high-end jobs and ensure the availability of the necessary skills.
A distinctive feature of the Swiss labour market is its need for large numbers of specialists, especially at times of economic boom. This demand is also stimulated by digitisation and the accompanying employment growth in professions requiring highly qualified staff.
The immigration of foreign specialists plays a key role in covering the demand for skilled professionals, especially during economic growth periods. That said, too heavy a reliance on foreign specialists poses various risks for the development of the Swiss labour market as international competition for these professionals increases. To continually expand the pool of professionals needed over the long term, it is crucial for Switzerland to tap into and cultivate domestic resources of skilled labour.
This is why the nurturing and maximum possible utilisation of domestic skills potential is central to the policy on skilled labour. Swiss policy is therefore aimed at creating a general framework in which the skills structure of the working population is matched to the needs of the economy while also promoting an environment that is conducive to high labour market participation and productivity. The main thrusts of this policy are determined by four key areas of action:
- Acquisition of additional skills and advanced qualifications in line with labour market requirements
- Improved work-family balance
- Creation of conditions conducive to continuing work beyond retirement age
- Promotion of innovations to raise productivity