The percentage of Switzerland’s workers working for themselves has been slowly declining. In 2010, 13.7% of workers were self-employed. By 2017, the figure was 12.8% – self-employed includes those working as independents and those working for companies they own.
Swiss (14.5%) are far more likely to be self-employed than foreigners (7.9%). This is partly explained by the low number of foreign farmers – farming is the Swiss industry with the highest percentage of owner operators (46%).
The highest concentrations of self-employed are found among those over 65 (43.4%), 55-64 (19.7%) and 40-54 (15.5%). Far fewer young people opt to work for themselves. Only 1.4% of those under 25 and 7.1% of those between 24 and 40 do.
Tertiary qualified people (15.3%) are far more likely to be their own boss than those with only a high school education (6.5%).
The self-employed work hard. 46.6% report working during the week and at weekends compared to only 13.9% of salaried employees. In addition, they take nearly 4 less days off a year – 21.9 versus 25.7.
In 2017, the rate of self-employment in Switzerland (12.8%) was below the EU average (14.5%).
Federal statistical office figures (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
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