Future skills, integration of the senior workforce and alternative forms of work are the key success factors to ensure the sustainable competitiveness of the labor market in Switzerland according to our latest study.
Think, work and include differently – that’s how government, companies and individuals can secure long-term competitiveness of the Swiss labor market.
This year’s Swiss Future of Work Forum (May 15, Berne) was initiated and driven by the findings of LHH’s latest study which explores the most significant challenges and success factors for employees and employers in the Swiss Labor Market using data from over 1700 candidates and dozens of interviews with affected individuals and experienced consultants.
Three critical areas are undergoing tremendous transformation and constitute the foundation of a sustainably functioning labor market according to the LHH study:
- Skills and continued education for everyone,
- Integration of workers of all age groups, including the senior workforce, and
- Alternative work forms responding to the fact that people today are willing to work longer, but less.
Fostering future skills
The future of work is all about skills. Employers and employees must ensure continuous education, further training and reskilling in the professions with high talent shortages to be able to cover for the future demand and maintain a competitive skill level. With the expected transformation of the labor market to a more digitally oriented economy, the gap in digital skills needs to be closed to ensure market relevance, employability and therefore employment.
The active promotion of a lifelong learning infrastructure is key to reduce the gap between the over and undersupply of skills. In addition, all actors in the market such as the government, businesses and policy makers need to continue focusing on a working social dialogue and thinking about who is held accountable for the resulting costs of re- and up-skilling..
Integrating senior workers effectively
With the aging of the Swiss population, everyone in the workforce becomes more important. The integration of senior workers will become more crucial in the future considering the skills shortage and that senior workers bring high potential, motivation and skills to the table. Switzerland’s LHH Managing Director, Andreas Rudolph, stresses that: ‘Many of our candidates in transition reduce their expectations after just a short period of job search’. It is vital to emphasize that even though older workers do not face higher obstacles after a lay-off than younger workers, there is a need to boost their self-confidence.
Career orientation support as well as continuous skill development – with a focus on soft skills – are strong requirements to ensure employability of the seniors on the market. Starting from their mid-40s, workers should get active career support, combined with further training to enable lifelong learning. Employers should also offer immediate career guidance in the event of redundancies – this is particularly critical for older workers. Finally, flexibility of the retirement age must be introduced together with support measures for companies and workers to ensure healthy social protection.
Embracing alternative forms of work as a catalyst
The digital world and the new economic reality combined with a new desire for flexibility from both an employers’ and an employees’ perspective have given space for new ways of working. In support of this trend, 67% of LHH’s outplacement candidates would recommend considering working more flexibly as an alternative to full time employment and more than a quarter (28%) of all interviewees recommend becoming self-employed to become more relevant on the labor market regardless of age.
Whether it is part-time, freelance, or self-employment, we need to embrace these new forms of work and treat them like standards. They are a reality and cannot be ignored. To tackle these shifts successfully Alain Dehaze, Global CEO of the Adecco Group, recommends “governments, employers and social partners need to re-design regulations to ensure that all work opportunities are secure and sustainable for workers and business alike”.
Discussing the way forward
Overall, the results of the LHH study and discussions at the Swiss Future of Work Forum provide recommendations and solutions for developing a sustainable Swiss Labor Market:
- At the state level: Active promotion and support by the public authorities around relevant, simple and current instruments.
- At a business level: Continuous up- and reskilling of the workforce and a timely offering of robust career coaching to laid off employees, particularly older workers, must be considered an integral part of the employer’s responsibility for diversity and corporate social responsibility.
- At an individual level: Every person is an actor in their professional life – responsible for shaping and strengthening their own professional perspectives by continuously learning and not waiting for a dramatic event like a job loss to realize the need for proactivity.
LHH is the world’s leading talent development and transition company, helping individuals and organisations navigate workforce change.