The Swiss job market reaches a new record high:
Almost 50% more job advertisements than in the first quarter of 2021
Zurich, 12 April 2022 – Swiss job advertisements rose 47% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter in the previous year, and have reached a record high for the second time in a row. Workers have much better prospects in the local labour market than they have had in a long time. If they have particularly sought-after digital skills, then the door to the employment market is wide open for them. This is reflected in the scientifically substantiated survey of the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index conducted by the University of Zurich’s Swiss Job Market Monitor.
Despite initial uncertainties surrounding the emergence of the Omicron variant at the end of last year and ongoing international supply shortages, the Swiss job market is in great shape. There has been a rapid rise in the number of job advertisements since spring 2021. 7% more jobs were advertised than in the fourth quarter of 2021. There has even been a whopping 47% increase compared to the first quarter of 2021. The index has therefore reached a historic high for the second time in a row.
« The growing demand for skilled workers can be explained as a post-COVID economic boom. Many companies are also expecting a further increase in demand in the near future and are therefore expanding their production and service capacities. »
Marcel Keller, Country Head Adecco Switzerland
The Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zurich (KOF) confirms that there is an increased demand for workers. According to KOF, companies from all sectors are planning to expand their workforces. Many doors are open at the moment for workers with skills that are very much in demand.
Special focus: digital skills in Swiss job advertisements
Many sectors have seen a rapid advance in digitalisation since the turn of the millennium. There is clear evidence of this in the world of employment and careers. Digital technologies, by which are meant Information and Communication Technology (ICT), are already standard in virtually all professions. The emergence of the pandemic also accelerated the digital transition in most business sectors.
« The recurring lockdowns forced companies and workers to quickly adopt new technologies to stay in business. Handling various digital communication technologies, shopping online and even contactless payments are no longer novelties to us these days. This process of transformation and digitalisation, which has been advancing for years, means that employees are increasingly expected to have skills working with digital technologies. »
Marcel Keller, Country Head Adecco Switzerland
An analysis of Swiss job advertisements over the last seven years shows that almost half of all advertisements (49%) specify at least one digital skill. However, several different skills are often required at the same time. This confirms that digital skills are very much in demand in the employment market. A distinction was made between six types of digital skills for the study: basic digital skills; content management; network, system and data management; digital business management; software development; and industry-specific information and communication technologies. (You can find more information about digital skills here.)
Companies are particularly likely to specify basic knowledge in information and communication technology in their job advertisements. This is evident from a comparison of the six skills across advertisements over the past seven years. A total of 31% of all advertisements specify the need for basic digital skills. Often, companies also require content management (23%), as well as network, system and data management (19%) skills. Overall, it is clear that: the more general the digital skills are, the greater the demand there is for them.
« The high level of demand for basic digital skills can be explained by the constant evolution of technology across the whole employment market. In many professions, working process are gradually being digitalised. For example, car mechanics used to carry out their work with just a screwdriver and a torque wrench, but computers are now becoming much more important as an additional tool. Basic digital skills provide workers with a toolkit that allows them to remain flexible in the digital world. There is now an increased expectation for employees to have basic knowledge when it comes to dealing with digital technologies and issues. »
Yanik Kipfer, Swiss Job Market Monitor at the University of Zurich
If we examine the demand for digital skills within professional groups, a clear picture emerges. Digital skills are a prerequisite for the majority of professions. In six of the 11 professional groups studied, more than half of all advertisements specified that the candidate should have at least one digital skill. By contrast, digital skills were hardly mentioned in any job advertisements in 1990.
Digital skills are most notably required for IT graduate careers (e.g. software developers, system administrators or system analysts). 99% of all advertisements in this professional group specify at least one digital skill. It is worth noting that, alongside IT graduate careers, there are two non-academic professional groups with particularly high demand for digital skills: engineering, and office and administration work. 66% of all job advertisements for technology specialists (e.g. electricians, technical drawers, or mechanical engineers) had a digital skill as a prerequisite, and 65% of all advertisements required a digital skill for office and sales workers (e.g. project managers, secretaries or brokers). By contrast, 16% of job advertisements for construction workers and labourers (e.g. carpenters, plasterers or unskilled workers in the transport and warehousing sectors) list a digital skill as a prerequisite. Therefore, acquiring digital skills is fast becoming a basic requirement in every professional group, from academic roles through to technical roles.
Basic digital skills
An analysis of the distribution of digital skills across professional groups indicates that individual skills have varying degrees of importance in different professional groups. However, a look at the figures confirms once again that basic digital skills are most sought after in most professional groups. It is therefore worthwhile for employees with virtually no digital skills to acquire general technology knowledge and application skills for handling information and communication technologies.
Skills in content management are often particularly sought after among IT graduate careers (58%), office and administration specialists (41%), technology specialists (32%), and economics graduate careers (30%).
In IT graduate careers, the skills that are most in demand are web development (e.g. HTML, responsive web design) and version control (e.g. Git – a method for managing software code). Office and administration specialists and technology specialists are predominantly required to have skills relating to Microsoft Office applications. In addition to Microsoft Office skills, economics graduate careers (e.g. marketing and advertising specialists, technical sales specialists) are also often asked to have knowledge about social media.
Network, system and data management
Employees with degrees in IT (81%), science (29%) and economics (24%), as well as managers (22%), are most likely to require digital skills in network, system and data management.
For IT graduate careers, the digital skills that are mainly sought after concern working with databases, IT infrastructure, servers, clouds, and Linux and Windows operating systems. For science graduate careers (e.g. physicists, engineers, mathematicians), there is high demand for knowledge regarding building automation, data analysis and hardware development. For economics graduate careers and managers, companies are particularly looking for workers with knowledge about customer relationship management systems and data analysis.
Digital business management
In terms of business management skills, demand is particularly high among IT graduate careers (64%), technology specialists (24%), and office and administration specialists (24%). Skills in this area are also highly desirable in management roles (23%).
For IT graduate careers, companies predominantly specify skills in IT support, specifically 3rd level support, and in providing software solutions (e.g. scrum, agile development processes) in their job advertisements. IT support skills (primarily 2nd level support) and experience with ERP software are also desirable among technology specialists. Knowledge of ERP software is also important for office and administration professionals (SAP, Navision and Abacus are often mentioned) and managers. Management staff roles often require skills in digital marketing (e.g. search engine advertising and search engine optimisation).
Companies look for people with software development skills predominantly among graduate careers in IT (82%) and science (29%), as well as among technology specialists (23%), and trade and industry specialists (16%).
Employers often require industry-specific ICT skills for IT graduate careers (52%), science graduate careers (35%), technology specialists (32%), and trade and industry specialists (21%).
For IT graduate careers, companies often look for knowledge of eHealth, automation and systems management software (e.g. System Center Configuration Manager), while they often want to see knowledge of computer-aided design software (e.g. AutoCAD and Revit) for technology specialists. There is also increased demand in science graduate careers for knowledge of 3D CAD software (e.g. SOLIDWORKS, Inventor or CATIA). Knowledge of computer numeric control (CNC) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are predominantly sought after among trade and industry specialists.
Methods and data
In cooperation with Adecco Group Switzerland and within the framework of the Job Index Publication, the Swiss Job Market Monitor of the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich is researching which digital skills companies are currently looking for. In job advertisements, companies provide information about required and desirable qualities, and the skills and knowledge required in order to carry out a role, with particular emphasis on prerequisites that are not (yet) regarded as being standard (Salvisberg 2006).
This publication focuses on digital skills and makes a distinction between six types of digital skills. These each include a series of qualities and skills that potential employees should have:
Basic digital skills: Basic knowledge in working with ICT technologies (e.g. general knowledge regarding how to use PCs or knowledge on topics such as digitalisation).
Content management: Knowledge of the software and processes used to create and modify content (e.g. MS Office, Photoshop, HTML and social media).
Network, system and data management: Knowledge of the processes and software relating to data, databases, management systems, IT infrastructure or hardware (e.g. knowledge of IT infrastructure, working with servers and management systems).
Digital business management: Knowledge of the processes and software for digital company management, for example, in human resources, accounts, finance or warehousing (e.g. knowledge of enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP).
Software development: Knowledge of the programming languages and software used to generate ICT applications (e.g. Java, Python, C++).
Industry-specific ICT: Knowledge on industry-specific ICT used for the digital support of typical work processes and tasks in certain sectors (e.g. computer-aided design (CAD), computer numerical control (CNC) and electronic medical documentation).
The results presented here are based on the Job Index data (Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index) for the period from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2022. These quarterly figures include data from the 12 largest Swiss job boards. They are also based on job advertisements from almost 1,500 company websites in a random sample that is representative of Switzerland based on sector and company size. The information on digital skills has been collated over seven years from advertisements in German, French, English and Italian posted by companies based in the German, French and Italian-speaking areas of Switzerland.