Economic slowdown curbs job growth:
3% more jobs advertised than in the previous year
Zurich, 18.01.2024 – In 2023, the Swiss labour market saw a slowdown in job growth, influenced by a marked economic slump. The Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index recorded a moderate increase of 3% compared to 2022. This scientifically substantiated study is conducted by the Adecco Group Switzerland and the Swiss Job Market Monitor from the University of Zurich.
The Swiss economy was hit by an economic slowdown last year, which also had a significant impact on the labour market. This is evident in the moderate annual growth of 3% for 2023. The decline is particularly striking in the last quarter of 2023 (Q4 2023), where the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index recorded its sharpest decline of the year. Compared to the previous quarter (Q3 2023), the index is down by 4%, and is also down by 3% compared to the same quarter of the previous year (Q4 2022).
“Both the Decline in employment growth and the Increase in the unemployment rate point to a slowdown in the growth momentum of the Swiss labour market. The Adecco Swiss Job Market Index highlights this trend. In 2023, the job market grew by just 3%. Despite this slowdown, the number of job vacancies remains at a historically high level and the unemployment rate remains relatively low by comparison.”
Marcel Keller, Country President Adecco Group Switzerland
Skilled trade and support personnel: increased demand for construction workers
The subdued mood of the Swiss labour market is particularly apparent from the analysis of job trends in the various occupational groups. Looking at the yearly changes in job vacancies in the various occupational groups, it is clear that the economic slowdown has affected the demand for skilled tradespeople to varying degrees across the respective groups.
A particularly positive trend is evident in the skilled trade and support personnel group, which come top with growth of +13%. This occupational group includes multi-skilled mechanics, assembly electricians and warehouse workers. Close behind are skilled service and sales personnel, who also registered significant growth of +12%. This group includes occupations such as skilled service staff, salespeople and tour guides. Skilled technology personnel also recorded an increase of +10% compared to the previous year. This occupational group includes occupations such as process engineers, design engineers and automation engineers.
“In 2023, the spotlight was on support personnel and trade and service occupations. Despite the economic challenges, demand for these workers has increased. This underlines the essential role these professions play in the Swiss economy.”
Martin Meyer, VP Operations Adecco Switzerland
In contrast to the occupational groups showing a positive trend, a number of groups experienced negative trends in job growth this year. At the top of this group are managers, with a decline of 12%. Managers are a very broadly defined occupational group. It includes occupations ranging from managing directors and HR managers to head butchers and circus ringmasters. Various factors seem to be contributing to the continuing negative performance of this group. One factor is the trend towards flatter organisational structures, which reduces the need for managers. Furthermore, managerial positions are often not advertised publicly, but are instead filled through informal networks. Another factor is the shortage of skilled workers, which leads companies to focus primarily on recruiting new employees before looking for new managers. Similar to managers, skilled office and administrative personnel saw a 7% decrease in job advertisements, including for occupations such as HR assistants, administrative staff and real estate managers. Similarly, academic STEM and health professions recorded a decline of 3%. Such occupations include business data processing specialists, architects and process engineers.
The academic economics and social affairs professions are the only occupational group showing no significant change in the job market compared to the previous year. This group includes occupations such as lawyers, psychologists and financial administrators.
“2023 proved to be particularly difficult for administrative and managerial staff, due to a significant decrease in the number of vacancies in these occupational groups compared to the previous year. By contrast, the demand for skilled trade and support personnel increased. In particular, the construction and development personnel sub-group benefited from this trend. Although the business outlook in the construction sector has cooled slightly, according to the KOF business tendency survey published in October 2023, almost half of construction companies say that staff shortages remain a barrier to production.”
Yanik Kipfer, Swiss Job Market Monitor
Northwestern Switzerland records strongest job growth
Labour markets in the major regions of Switzerland paint a varied picture in terms of job growth, as a comparison between 2022 and 2023 shows. Northwestern Switzerland stands out at the top of the ranking with growth of 14%, closely followed by Espace Mittelland with 7% and Central Switzerland with 5%. In Eastern Switzerland, on the other hand, job advertisements remain at the same level as in the previous year. A slight decrease (-1%) in job advertisements was recorded in Zurich, while Southwestern Switzerland saw a decrease of 4%.
Skilled technology personnel saw job growth in Espace Mittelland and Southwestern Switzerland (Espace Mittelland: +29%, Southwestern Switzerland: +15%), skilled trade and support personnel came out top in Central Switzerland and Zurich (Central Switzerland: +32%, Zurich: +17%). In Northwestern Switzerland, the main winners are skilled service and sales personnel, who recorded 36% more jobs this year than in 2022, while in Eastern Switzerland, managers are benefiting from a slight increase in demand (3%).
Demand for skilled office and administrative personnel was particularly poor in Espace Mittelland (-17%), Eastern Switzerland (-6%) and Northwestern Switzerland (-5%). In Southwestern Switzerland (-39%) and Zurich (-14%), managers were particularly affected by a noticeable drop in demand, while in Central Switzerland academic STEM and health professions (-31%) were heavily affected.