This combination of unemployment and job vacancies can largely be explained by two things. The first is frictional unemployment, the period spent in between jobs. This typically increases when there is a lot of job changing. The second is a skills mismatch. Employers cannot find the skills they need among those seeking work.
A recent report by the human resources firm Adecco and Zurich University identifies the occupations, among 32, where Switzerland’s skills shortages are most acute. It also identifies those where there is an oversupply of workers.
The skilled worker shortage index ranks occupations based on the ratio of advertised vacancies to the number of jobs seekers in an occupation.
The skills shortage continues to increase in Switzerland. In 2019, the ratio was 22% higher than in 2016. In some regions it has risen even more. In the Lake Geneva region it is up 41% and in eastern Switzerland it is up 49%.
Across Switzerland, 8 occupations are experiencing worker shortages and 13 an oversupply.
Occupations experiencing skills shortages:
1. Engineers – structural and electronics engineers
2. Technicians – eg heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians
3. Fiduciary jobs – accountants, auditors and tax advisors
4. IT – analysts and programmers
5. Medicine and pharmaceutical
6. Technical specialists
7. Legal jobs
8. Technical drafting jobs
At the other end of the spectrum, where there are too many people chasing too few jobs, are occupations with low educational requirements. There are significantly more job seekers than vacancies in cleaning, hygiene and personal care. This occupational group includes occupations in the textile care sector, caretakers, hairdressers and beauticians.
Occupations experiencing oversupply:
20. Media professionals and related jobs
21. Public order and security jobs
22. Entrepreneurs, directors and head clerks
23. Therapy and caregiver jobs
24. Artistic jobs
25. Public welfare, educational and pastoral jobs
26. Transportation and logistics jobs
27. Textile processing, printing and warehouse
28. Trade and retail jobs
30. Hospitality and housekeeping jobs
31. Commercial and administrative jobs
32. Cleaning, sanitation and personal care jobs
Second from the bottom are commercial and administrative office jobs. These are being automated away creating a surplus of jobseekers in these occupations.
With the exception of chefs, who are in high demand, occupations in
the hospitality industry and housekeeping (3rd last) are experiencing significant oversupply.
Occupations in the retail and sales sector (e.g. salespeople or cashiers), that are also suffering from a serious oversupply of staff, were ranked 4th from the bottom.
Occupations in the construction sector, up one place in the ranking in 2019 compared to the previous year, and are now in fourth last place.
Geographically, German-speaking Switzerland has larger skills shortages than the French- and Italian-speaking parts of the country, where unemployment is higher. In these regions there is an oversupply of workers in 24 out of 32 occupations and a shortage in only 3 – the 5 others are in equilibrium.
By contrast, in German-speaking Switzerland, only 8 occupations are suffering from worker oversupply, while 14 are suffering a skills shortage.
These regional rankings offer a guide on where to move to find work. For example an unwanted IT professional in French-speaking Switzerland (ranked 8th and in equilibrium) could be in hot demand in Zurich (ranked 2nd with a skills shortage).
Adecco report (in English)