A recent report shows only 34% of young Swiss are concerned the jobs they take will eventually disappear compared to 79% in the US, 74% in Brazil and 76% in Singapore.
The main worry is the impact of rapid technological change. Fear levels are mirrored in the response to another question: what kind of job would you like to have? Jobs in IT and tech are viewed as extremely attractive by the vast majority of young people in the US (75%) Brazil (72%) and Singapore (75%) but by only 43% of young Swiss.
In addition, Swiss youth are less likely to dream of starting a business. Only 39% say they would like to start a business compared to a majority in the US (56%) and Singapore (53%), and 45% in Brazil.
The report gives two hypotheses for why young Swiss are less concerned about tech taking their jobs: Switzerland lags behind the rest of the world, or its institutions are better prepared to meet the challenges of digitization, automation and artificial intelligence.
Boris Zürcher, Head of the Labour Directorate of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), thinks Switzerland is well positioned to adapt. It has a track record of allowing structural change on societal, economic and political levels. He reckons this is why Switzerland has low unemployment, stable job growth and a high labour participation rate.
In addition, Zürcher doesn’t see Swiss youth’s relative lack of interest in IT and tech jobs as a weakness. According to him, not everyone can or would like to become a tech specialist, and tech isn’t the only sector demanding highly trained specialists.
He doesn’t view the relatively lower level of interest in start ups among young Swiss as a problem either. In Switzerland, start ups are more popular among experienced mid-career workers, something he views as positive – experienced middle-aged founders are more likely to succeed.
The Swiss economy and education system could play a role too.
Relatively well paid government careers in education (4th), administration (5th) and healthcare (7th) feature near the top of Swiss youth’s work wish list, along with key sectors such as tourism (2nd), banks (6th) and the pharmaceutical industry (12th).
In Switzerland, two-thirds of young people choose a basic vocational education. This vocational education system connects young Swiss to the job market aligning them with professional skills that are in demand in the labour market, according to Zürcher. This must help reassure young jobseekers there will be jobs for them.
The 2018 Credit Suisse Youth Barometer is a survey of 16- to 25-year-olds.
2018 Credit Suisse Youth Barometer (in English)