Business sectors and companies offering a chance of being hired in Zürich
A good number of target companies and organisations that appear to be very internationally oriented and that have some form of Regional or Swiss Head Office can be found listed here:
- Wikipedia list of Swiss companies by revenue
- American Swiss Chamber of Commerce – amcham
- Greater Zurich Area website – note how events are listed in German on the English events page
- Swiss company including Zurich start-up listing by year in English
The advice we give is to seek out those larger companies on the list who have a matrix structure, who advertise roles where the travel percentage is high or whose websites are clearly focussed on English readers. This is because you need English for international roles.
This will help you to screen out those where a company will advertise a job in English, make no reference to the need for German to follow group HR policy then leave you cold and reject your CV.
Why? In the case of a company who starts with a letter between N and Q in IT, the person posting the position in HR used the role/position template they had used before and failed to clearly state the need for German. How much time did she waste for herself and applicants? Her global VP of HR will not know, the hire is completed, there are sufficient other applicants trying to get that “dream job in Switzerland.”
There is also another reason which affects many organisations. The company policy is to write in English and no-one has ever considered enforcing it when it comes to speaking English day-to-day. It is not uncommon. This is why the Zürich Networking Group offers a free level to get you on the newsletter list, to learn more and then give you the chance to pop along to a coffee morning when you visit to help you in your research, or when you arrive.
Jobs where specialists are hard to find – A recruiters dream and an HR headache – you could be the solution!
These exist in a number of different business areas, it can include roles such as:
- IT software engineers with knowledge of banking compliance and cyber security and have experience of Blockchain
- Analysts in certain business intelligence areas related to the environmental impact of global warming at a 10yrs+ experience level
- Pharma or Bio laboratory scientist for early-stage research ( often smaller bio or pharma companies benefitting from large company downsizing)
- Genetics specialist for new tailored therapeutics
- Banking project or other management staff for specific finance controls experience to deal with impending regulatory requirements
It is always worth checking the job advertising websites regularly, which positions take time to fill. Spend time on LinkedIn just reading the posted job advertisements, look at the company pages, read the employee profiles and use their company website link.
Do not follow them on LinkedIn, your feed will quickly fill with updates and it is noise. There is so much bad promotion of poor content as LinkedIn chases to be Facebook post 2018 that you will waste time. Your mission is to get onto LinkedIn, take what you need and add it to your research. Not to drift around the website and waste a lot of time seeing content which is lower in quality than the company news feed on their website.
The website is the core of the company marketing message. Check their Youtube channel if one exists, some are good and a lot are average. Remember, LinkedIn job postings are often on auto-renew to collect a simple candidate pipeline databank of limited worth to you as a job seeker. The website, Twitter feed, Youtube and Linkedin content help you understand the culture of the company and highlight if all posts are multi-lingual or just local content and in German.
Other places to look if your skills are more general include:
- International, private schools or English language schools or training companies.
- Service companies and consultancies like Accenture, Ernst and Young where there are high levels of administration and reporting.
- Retail does offer some opportunities, there are also some temporary jobs offered usually with low basic pay, or as a freelancer on commission only.
- The low-skilled labour market, a role which could be a transition job where you have limited exposure to customers. These can be varied and often can come from a personal connection.
It is important to recognise that even many seemingly “low-level” role here in Switzerland needs some form of licence or qualification to work in that field.
- If you work in security, you will need a C permit by most hiring companies
- Call-centre work usually requires a strong competency in two of the three main languages – French and Italian (assuming you as a reader have limited German). They are a dying business in high-cost Zürich, Swisscom and others have their operations outsourced or located well outside the canton because of costs. Hosting technologies, chat box help and AI assistants are already having an impact upon the hiring of these roles. See it as a transition job only.
- Many jobs will be advertised as age restricted – yes, there are still employers out there advertising 25-40 age only applicants, why? AHV – social security costs increase as a % at age 45.