39% more job advertisements than in the fourth quarter of 2020: number of ads is rapidly growing to achieve a new record
Zurich, 13 January 2022 – in March of 2020, the first coronavirus lockdown prompted a dramatic slump in the job market. Nearly two years later, we are seeing rapid economic recovery: in the fourth quarter of 2021, companies advertised 39% more jobs than in the same quarter of the previous year. There was a welcome significant increase in demand for most professional groups. In addition, every major region of Switzerland saw widespread recovery in the labour market. 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.
Nearly two years after the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, the Swiss job market saw a significant increase in job advertisements by more than 39% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the same quarter in 2020. The number of job advertisements has been steadily increasing since the spring. This is the fastest and largest rise in the index since measuring began in 2003. The index even shows a clear, significant increase of 18% compared with the quarter before the crisis (the fourth quarter of 2019), thus reaching new record highs.
This huge rise in job advertisements reflects a major improvement to Switzerland’s economic situation over recent quarters, and is accompanied by positive development in the gross domestic product (GDP). According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), increases in private consumption and goods exports mean that the GDP for the summer of 2021 had already exceeded the pre-crisis level in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, current developments indicate that economic growth and thus also positive changes to the number of job advertisements will slow down in 2022. The rapid spread of the new Omicron variant and lingering international supply bottlenecks are holding back economic growth,.
‘If Omicron results in stricter measures being introduced both here and abroad, for example the closure of certain service sectors, or if supply bottlenecks linger further due to the spread of Omicron abroad, then the situation with the job market could go back downhill. This is particularly the case in trade and the hotel and restaurant industries, as well as in manufacturing and export-oriented sectors. However, staffing bottlenecks caused by people contracting the Omicron variant could also prompt a rise in temporary positions. Adecco’s forefather Henri-Ferdinand Lavanchy actually founded Europe’s first staff leasing agency during a flu epidemic in order to meet just such a rise in demand for replacement staff’.
– Marcel Keller, Country Manager Adecco Switzerland
Largest increase in demand: craft specialists and assistants
NB: From the fourth quarter of 2021 onwards, the job index is using new professional groups and major regions. Details of the make-up of these professional groups and major regions can be found here
The GDP growth seen in recent months is primarily thanks to the service and industry sectors. Comparing job advertisements in 2020 with those in 2021, craft specialists and assistants (+23%) – including professions such as polymechanics, precision artisans (such as watchmakers and micromechanics) and food processing roles (e.g. bakers and meat specialists) – saw the highest level of growth, followed by office and administration specialists (+21%) (such as general office and secretarial staff, then service and sales specialists (+17%) such as sales and support staff).
‘The huge volatility of demand at home and abroad means that companies are having to face the huge challenge of increasing and decreasing their production levels extremely quickly. At the same time, companies have to ensure that supply chains and sales channels are able to get their products to customers. This is correspondingly driving up demand for employees in processing and administrative roles, as well as for logistics staff. In addition, the easing of measures during the summer allowed the hotel and restaurant trade and other service companies to reboot their business activities, which required a lot of new staff. It is not hugely surprising that high numbers of specialists are now being sought for the hotel and restaurant industry (with significant differences between urban and seasonal hotels), services and sales, as these sectors saw massive job losses in 2020 and many employees chose to change direction in their careers, leaving gaps.’
– Marcel Keller, Country Manager Adecco Switzerland
There was also growing demand for graduate professions in STEM and healthcare (+16%), with software and application developers and analysts increasingly sought after. One possible reason for this rise in demand for IT specialists could be Swiss households’ changing purchasing habits, with a move towards online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic. Companies are increasingly having to expand their e-commerce infrastructure, which boosts demand for qualified staff in order to do so.
There was also lower yet still rising demand for staff among technology specialists (+14%) such as technical engineers and comparable specialists, and graduate professions in economic and social fields (+12%) such as social scientists and cultural professions. Managers (+2%), following a marked drop (-19%) in 2020, saw a sideways trend to remain at the same low level
Strongest labour market growth in Switzerland
NB: From the fourth quarter of 2021 onwards, the job index has been using new professional groups and major regions. Details of the make-up of these professional groups and major regions can be found here
Growth can be identified in the labour market, both for Switzerland as a whole and in each of the country's major regions. This is clear from a comparison between job advertisements in 2020 and in 2021. Northwestern Switzerland shows by far the greatest increase of 25%, followed by Espace Mittelland (+21%), Central Switzerland (+21%), Eastern Switzerland (+13%), the Zurich region (+12%) and Southwestern Switzerland (+8%).
Espace Mittelland welcomed the greatest economic recovery by technology specialists (+50%) (such as technical engineers and comparable specialists) and in Central Switzerland it was by graduate professions in STEM and healthcare (+48%) (such as scientists, mathematicians and engineers), whilst in Northwestern Switzerland, service and sales specialists (+54%) (such as sales staff) and graduate professions in economic and social fields (+45%) (such as social scientists and cultural professions) enjoyed strong job growth.
‘The industrial sector in Espace Mittelland and Central Switzerland particularly benefited from the increase in demand for and exports of goods, which is reflected in the number of vacancies for technology specialists and for graduate professions in STEM and healthcare. In Northwestern Switzerland, it was the specialists who suffered the most during the crisis period that benefited the most from strong regional growth – namely service and sales specialists, and graduate professions in economic and social fields.’
– Yanik Kipfer, Swiss Job Market Monitor