Top Quality of life and a global leader in ICT
Switzerland is one of the world’s most attractive countries to work and live. This is especially true for expats in the ICT sector where Switzerland is one of the global hotspots. Here are some of the most important reasons why.
Quality of Life
Switzerland is with Zürich (#2), Geneva (#9) and Basel (#10) home to 3 of the top 10 top cities in the world according to the Mercer Quality of Living Rankings 2019. And this quality of living is part of all of Switzerland. From the high mountains of the Alps to the fertile central plateau and the Mediterranean ambiance of Ticino, Switzerland has a wonderfully diverse, rich landscape all packed into a small area – 220 kilometers from north to south and 348 kilometers from west to east. Wherever you are living in Switzerland, within a short distance you can swim in our lakes and rivers, ski or hike our mountains, enjoy a very broad range of world-class culture and food, do whichever sport you like and much more.
Switzerland is also home to one of the world’s best schooling systems, if you believe the WEF ranking for the Quality of School Systems it is even the best one. From Kindergarten to University, schooling is basically free of cost despite being home to 4 of the world’s top 50 Universities. And for Expats, if they wish to do so, Switzerland offers over 250 international schools.
Switzerland is a very international society. Approximately 30% of the people living in Switzerland are foreigners. Approximately 70% of them come from the European
Union. English is commonly spoken and there are large Diaspora for almost any nation. Switzerland is also host to many international Organizations such as the UN, International Olympic Committee IOC, UEFA, FIFA, CERN, WTO, WEF, WHO and many more.
Due to this large share of foreigners living in Switzerland and its very open and global economy (ETH Zurich rates Switzerland as # in the world’s most cosmopolite economies), diversity is part of Switzerland’s success story. And the foreign work force is happy ranking Switzerland as the world’s top destination for highly qualified specialists. One important reason more for this: Switzerland has the world’s highest purchasing power, meaning how much your salary will buy you after tax and rent.
Strong, innovative Economy
Switzerland is one of the world’s most established and continuously successful economy. For many years now, the country has been on top or within the top 3 of the World’s most competitive ranking according to the World Economic Forum and on top of most innovation indexes that are published. Another proof of Switzerland’s innovation powers are the following rankings: global number #1 in patents per capita, global #1 in scientific publications per capita and global #2 in Nobel prize winners per capita.
As a landlocked country, Switzerland economic success is based on its openness to do business globally and on its very strong exports. What might be surprising: Switzerland is also one of the world’s most important Foreign Direct Investor with over 1.1. trillion USD invested around the world. This means that for every 2 jobs in Switzerland there is one more in another country.
More reasons for Switzerland’s ongoing economic strength include liberal labor laws, a highly skilled and international work force, a strong finance system, low public debt, low taxes, a stable government and legal environment, labor peace (no strikes) and a world class infrastructure. The latter includes the world’s most dense public transport system, the world’s fastest internet connectivity (5G starts in May 2019) and much more.
The most important sectors in Switzerland include Life Science, Finance, Machine building, Luxury Goods, Infrastructure, Food, Cleantech and not the least ICT. Unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world.
ICT and digital hotspot
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a key technology for the Swiss economy. Its share of GDP is 4.5% and growing and 5% (204’000) of the working population work in an ICT capacity. With the ongoing digitization, ICT jobs can be found across all sectors. Pure ICT players include global leaders such as Google, Facebook, IBM, Walt Disney Research, Adobe, HP, Doodle, Microsoft, SAP and many others.
The most important area for ICT jobs is Zürich, but many more opportunities exist all around Switzerland. Current ICT highlights include the Crypto Valley in Zug, the 1.1 billion Euro Human Brain Project in Lausanne, CERN in Geneva, and in general hundreds of new start-ups and spinoffs of the leading Swiss universities. Important ICT sectors include blockchain, cyber security, data centers, big data, game development, fintech and many more.
The unemployment rate in Swiss ICT is extremely low and salaries are high. This reflects the ambition of the Swiss economy to be a global front runner in digitization. A new study of the industry association ICT Switzerland shows a lack of over 80’000 ICT specialists until 2023. A considerable proportion of that needs to be recruited abroad.
Switzerland owns some of the world’s most attractive universities. E.g. Europe’s top business school HSG in St. Gallen or the two top technical universities ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne, ranked #9 and #19 according to the Qs World University Ranking 2018. And what’s best? Schooling in Switzerland is basically free of cost from Kindergarten to University.
So overall, the quality of research and education is one of the reasons, why so many international tech leaders have substantial and rapidly growing businesses in Switzerland. Another reason is the thriving economy. Switzerland is one of the world’s and indeed Europe’s top business location. For over ten year’s now, Switzerland has ranked on top or in the top 3 of the world’s most competitive nations according to the World Economic Forums Global Competitiveness Report. The small, landlocked but brain driven country has also consistently lead many global rankings regarding innovation.
Today, competitiveness of course also means high class IT infrastructure, digital readiness, and quality of ICT labor. Also in these categories, Switzerland is a global leader. E.g. Switzerland ranks as number 5 in the World Digital Competitiveness Ranking by IMD. ICT infrastructure as well is top. E.g., 5G will be broadly introduced as of March 2019 across Switzerland and Switzerland leads Europe in terms of people who have access to broadband.