Swiss job market


Job Index down 15% year-on-year and up 10% compared to the previous quarter which was dominated by the coronavirus

Healthcare professions are booming: +35% since 2015


Zurich, 05 October 2020 – In the third quarter of 2020, the number of job advertisements fell by 15% year-on-year for Switzerland as a whole. 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. Measured by the number of job advertisements, the job market in German-speaking Switzerland (at -15% compared to the previous year) developed similarly to the job market in French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland (at -14%).


“The current slump in job advertisements, which has fallen -15% compared to last year, was somewhat less severe than was feared in June 2020 in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In a quarterly comparison, we are even already seeing a recovery (+10%). After a significant slump of -27% in the second quarter of 2020, the Job Index is now recovering relatively quickly,” explains Anna von Ow from Job Market Monitor Switzerland. “The current GDP figures also point to an increasingly positive development, as the Interim Assessment by the Federal Government’s Expert Group states. Accordingly, less short-time work was required than originally requested. In addition, evaluations by SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) show that unemployment appears to be stabilising at an increased level. This gives us a positive outlook for the further development of the job market,” says Monica Dell’Anna, CEO of Adecco Group Switzerland.


In the quarterly focus: healthcare professions are booming


We will now provide additional information about a special topic each quarter. In the current 3rd quarter of 2020, we are focusing on healthcare professions. For this, we are paying particular attention to positions in the medical profession, in nursing and in medical practice assistance. The aim of this occupational focus is to observe the medium-term developments in primary healthcare professions[1] (period of 5 years).


Occupational focus on “medical professionals, nursing staff and medical practice assistants”


There is strong demand for medical professionals, nursing staff and medical practice assistants: 35% more job vacancies than in 2015


Demand for healthcare professionals has risen by 35% since 2015. The increase in 2020 compared to the previous year is 13%. This increase is high considering the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus situation. After the introduction of coronavirus protection measures in the 2nd quarter of 2020, the number of advertisements for medical professions initially plummeted. It should be noted, however, that the number of job advertisements rose at an above-average rate shortly before the introduction of the coronavirus protection measures (Q4 2019 and Q1 2020). Moreover, the number of job advertisements increased again after relaxation of the coronavirus protection measures (Q3 2020). “From 17.03.2020 (until 27.04.2020), healthcare institutions were obliged to refrain from non-urgent medical procedures and therapies.[2] As a result, the search for medical personnel was also severely restricted in the short term. Certain treatments and procedures were cancelled as a result, while others had to be carried out at a later date and others still have to be carried out,” explains Corinne Scheiber, Head of Professional Solutions for Medical & Clinical Experts.


Nursing professions and medical practice assistants (MPAs) – development since 2015


Nursing and MPA professions have increased by just over 36% since 2015. They have grown 12% compared to the previous year in 2020, the year of coronavirus. This rather moderate year-on-year increase is mainly due to the sharp decline following the introduction of coronavirus protection measures. However, individual professions have developed very differently.


Demand for auxiliary care staff has increased the most since 2015, more than doubling (120%). Trained health specialists are also increasingly needed; here the index value of the number of advertisements has doubled since 2015. In addition, nurses are sought after more and more (+27%) in comparison to 2015.

Compared to the previous year, the greatest rises were in the number of auxiliary care staff and nurses, up 39% and 16% respectively. “The number of job advertisements skyrocketed for the year as a whole despite a slump during the coronavirus pandemic. This was mainly due to the sharp increase shortly before the introduction of coronavirus protection measures. However, it is also quite conceivable that hospitals had already prepared themselves before the political implementation of these measures and had hired in order to have sufficient personnel available in case the pandemic developed according to a worst-case scenario. However, it then became apparent that the politically prescribed measures were able to bring about the desired reduction in the number of cases. Additionally, many companies had to announce short-time work due to the extensive restrictions on treatments,” explains Corinne Scheiber.


The search for senior staff and experts in nursing, on the other hand, has only grown by a small amount when compared to 2015 (+7%), and has now fallen again after a moderate increase. Compared to the previous year, there was a decline of -9%. Demand for medical practice assistants has even declined slightly over time, by 8% compared to 2015, and it has remained almost unchanged compared to the previous year (+2%). “An increase in efficiency through digitisation and the introduction of new working models was probably achieved here,” comments Corinne Scheiber.


Since 2015 +63% more job advertisements for senior consultants

Over the last five years, the number of job advertisements for medical professions has increased by 32% and by 17% compared to the previous year. The strongest increase in medical professions since 2015 has been among senior consultants and was 63%. An increase can also be observed in the number of advertisements for assistant doctors compared to the start of the measurement, although this is relatively small (+15%). After a strong increase from 2018 to 2019, the number of advertisements for specialist doctors is currently at a level only slightly higher than in 2015 (+6%). Compared to the previous year, however, the search for personnel has increased by 9% as measured by the number of advertisements. “Medical care must be expanded in view of the ageing population and the growing number of medical treatment options. It is therefore important to create models that make the medical profession more attractive. This could also make it possible to attract people to or retain people in this profession who want a more balanced relationship between their professional and private life than was typical for doctors in the past. The FMH, for example, proposes the creation of more flexible working hour models. These would facilitate working with a reduced workload and thus ensure a better work-life balance or allow for people to work longer beyond retirement. For example, there are more and more opportunities for family doctors to work part-time, as shown by an Article from 10vor10 which presented the results of a study conducted by the Swiss Federation of General Practitioners and Paediatricians (FME),” explains Corinne Scheiber.


Methods and data


The developments presented here are based on Job Index data for the period from the 4th quarter of 2014 to the 3rd quarter of 2020. These quarterly data include market data from the 12 largest Swiss job portals as well as company data from approximately 1,350 company websites, which are a representative sample for Switzerland stratified by industry and company size.[3]


Job advertisements for various medical professions, nursing staff and medical practice assistant positions are taken into account. The medical professions group includes assistant doctors, general practitioners, specialist doctors, and also senior consultants. The index values for the professions mentioned above were calculated on the basis of annual data, i.e. they each cover four combined quarters. This was in order to ensure sufficient case numbers. In order to meet the publication date and satisfy a desire for the information to be up-to-date, the fourth quarter of the previous year was combined with the first three quarters of the current year to form an annual value. The index value for the year 2020, for example, comprises the first three quarters of 2020 and the last quarter of 2019.


[1] A significant portion of basic professions covering primary healthcare with different degrees of qualification requirements are covered. Therapeutic professions such as physiotherapy and medical-technical professions are not covered.


[2] Ordinance 2 on Measures to Combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19). (COVID-19 Ordinance 2) of 13 March 2020 (Status on 17 March 2020) | 818.101.24: (Article 10a, inserted by No I of the Ordinance 2 of 16 March 2020, in force since 17 March 2020 (AS 2020 783)


[3] Press advertisements were also surveyed up until the 1st quarter of 2018.