Growth of the Swiss job market interrupted:
construction and development personnel are in high demand
Zurich, 04/07/2023 – After the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index reached an all-time high at the end of 2022, it registered a sideways trend during this quarter for the second time in a row. As a result of this, the Swiss job market has now stabilised at a high level. Construction and development personnel are currently in particularly high demand, closely followed by skilled assembly and auxiliary workers and skilled trade and industry personnel. Demand for personnel in the IT sector has dropped unexpectedly. These are the findings of the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index, a scientifically substantiated survey developed by the University of Zurich’s Job Market Monitor.
After a strong upswing from the first quarter of 2021, it seems that the Swiss job market has now stabilised at a high level. In the second quarter of 2023, the Job Index showed no growth (0%) for the second time in a row. Vacancies increased by 5% compared to the second quarter of 2022.
"While the experts from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs predicted a below-average development of the Swiss economy in 2023, many companies are continuing to complain about a lack of workers. This appears to be supporting demand for skilled workers despite the economic downturn and has so far prevented any negative developments in the Swiss job market."
Marcel Keller, Country President Adecco Group Switzerland
A comparison of the different language regions: the job market in Latin-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland remains robust
In comparison to the same quarter of the previous year, both Latin-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland have seen positive developments in the job market. Latin-speaking Switzerland (+11%) has experienced a more dynamic development that German-speaking Switzerland (+4%).
The different growth rates can be traced back to the different trends that emerged in both language regions in 2022. While the job market in German-speaking Switzerland enjoyed constant growth and reached a record high at the end of 2022, the development of the job market in Latin-speaking Switzerland was somewhat more volatile. After reaching an all-time high at the start of 2022, the job market in Latin-speaking Switzerland suffered a decline in the middle of the year before recovering towards the end of the year.
While the job growth in both language regions slowed down in 2023, comparatively high index values were reached, although they did not match the peak values of the previous year.
Occupational groups: first signs of a weaker dynamic are becoming visible
The analysis of job development for the 14 occupational groups paints a mixed picture. In comparison to the first half of 2022, most of the occupational groups (eight out of 14) showed higher-than-average positive development in the first half of 2023. However, the skilled office personnel (+2%) (e.g., travel consultants, case workers, HR assistants) and academic natural science professions (0%) (e.g., electrical engineers, statisticians, architects) occupational groups only experienced low and below-average development and so stagnated at a level similar to the previous year. Something that is particularly striking is the negative development seen in the following four occupational groups: academic economics professions (-7%) (e.g. marketing specialists, inheritance advisors, economists), skilled commercial, administration and trade personnel (-7%) (e.g. real estate managers, insurance consultants, management assistants), management (-10%) (e.g. key account managers, sales managers, company managers) and academic computer science professions (-20%) (e.g. IT system administrators, UX/UI designers, software engineers). Overall, in comparison to previous half years, there has been a slowdown in job development across a considerable number of occupational groups. The figures point to a broad slowdown in job growth.
Skilled construction and development personnel (+20%): significant growth in demand
There has been a remarkable growth in demand for skilled construction and development personnel (e.g., plasterers, painters, or floor layers). In comparison to the first half of 2022, there are currently 20% more open positions in this occupational group. Although the number of available contracts has recently dropped slightly from a high level, the situation for both the development and the construction industry can still be considered as very good. In addition, the utilisation of capacities in the construction industry is still very high. The majority of companies in this sector are complaining about a lack of suitably qualified personnel, which supports the ongoing demand for skilled workers.
Skilled assembly and auxiliary workers (+15%): increase in job advertisements recorded
There has been a positive development for skilled assembly and auxiliary workers (e.g., construction machinery operators, warehouse employees, kitchen assistants) between the first half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. In comparison to the first half of 2022, 15% more job advertisements were published in the first half of 2023. Growth momentum is coming from the two sub-groups support personnel and mobile equipment drivers and operators in particular. Jobs for skilled assembly and auxiliary workers can be found in several different sectors, including construction, hospitality, transportation and manufacturing. As a result, this occupational group is able to benefit from the positive developments in these economic sectors.
Skilled trade and industry personnel (+14%): upswing despite potential risks
The number of jobs available for skilled trade and industry personnel (e.g., polymechanics, CNC millers, clockmakers) has been increasing since the first half of 2021. In the current half year, there has been an increase of 14% in advertised positions for skilled trade and industry personnel when compared to the same period last year. This strong upwards trend can be traced back to the dynamic first quarter of 2023, which is also when we saw the strong recovery of the manufacturing sector. Despite this positive development, the most recent results from the KOF business tendency survey have indicated a potential cooling off in this sector. These results lead us to believe that there may be a drop in demand for skilled workers from this occupational group in the near to medium future.
Academic computer science professions (-20%): an unexpected turnaround
There has been a negative development in the number of job advertisements for academic computer science professions. Compared to the first half of 2022, this occupational group saw a 20% decrease in the number of jobs advertised in the first half of 2023. In particular, the sub-group of software and application developers and analysts suffered from a slump in demand. This development is even more surprising because the academic computer science professions occupational group reached a historically high index value in the first half of 2022. We began to see a drop in the number of job advertisements from the second half of 2022 and this trend has continued until today.
«The current decrease in open positions for academic computer science professions indicates that the IT sector may be undergoing an extensive transformation. In recent years, the sector has been marked by hiring freezes and lay-offs in several major IT companies. These factors have without a doubt had an influence on the number of positions available for skilled IT professionals in Switzerland. »
Yanik Kipfer, Swiss Job Market Monitor
Side note: the proportion of employees in each occupational group
The below table depicts how employees are distributed across the occupational groups in Switzerland and is intended to give an insight into the size of Switzerland’s various occupational groups. The data was sourced from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office and relates to 2021.
Distribution of employees by occupational group
|Occupational group||Total (in 1000)||Percentage|
|Skilled office personnel||507||12%|
|Academic social affairs professions||489||12%|
|Skilled assembly and auxiliary workers||436||11%|
|Skilled personal services personnel||435||10%|
|Skilled catering and sales personnel||298||7%|
|Skilled commercial, administration and trade personnel||281||7%|
|Skilled construction and development||221||5%|
|Skilled technology personnel||216||5%|
|Academic health professions||210||5%|
|Skilledtrade and industry personnel||208||5%|
|Academic economics professions||177||4%|
|Academic computer science professions||148||3%|
|Academic natural science professions||140||3%|
Source: Federal Statistical Office, 2021