Pierre-Marie Durécu talks about business climate in Switzerland...

Published 2019-09-25 07:30

Ahead of the 'Welcome to Switzerland' forum, happening on October 1st, Expat.com talks to Pierre-Marie Durécu, Communications Officer of the France-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce. He tells us about the business climate, and will make you consider moving to this beautiful country.

Why did you decide to settle in Switzerland?

Quality of life, the Swiss state of mind and the setting in general are the main reasons for my move. I grew up in Haute-Savoie and quite naturally, have always been curious about Switzerland and particularly about Geneva- the main city of the region. First, for leisure but very quickly, I became interested in working in Geneva and this is where I started my career while still living in France. I finally decided to take the leap and move to Switzerland simply to avoid car trips, be closer to my friends and because I simply wanted to be in an urban setting adapted to my needs.

How easily did you adapt to life in Switzerland?

"Culturally" yes because my knowledge of Geneva was enough to understand the local customs. "Professionally" it was more complicated at the beginning, because the labor market can be difficult to approach for a foreigner in Switzerland according to the sectors of targeted activities, in particular in Geneva. Despite having a Master and several references on my resume, chasing the job I wanted was a tedious task. I had to do a top up course in Switzerland and I was ready to be a trainee all over again. The CCIFS responded favorably to my application.

Switzerland has jumped seven places this year and has been elected the best country for expatriates by the HSBC Expat Explorer. According to the report, it is the career prospects for expats that has made the difference. What are the niche markets for expatriates in Switzerland?

Switzerland is hungry for "technical" profiles and tech is a promising niche for French people with a high level of qualification. Many companies are regularly looking for these. The building industry, computer and health sectors get the most interest.

Why does the country turn to foreign labor?

This phenomenon is mainly explained by the shortage of "local" labor encountered in certain sectors for various reasons (lack of adapted training and, by extension, of available human resources, lack of interest of the Swiss for certain trades, etc.).

What about career development opportunities? Is it easy to climb the ladder in this country?

Switzerland offers interesting career development possibilities provided that one is well adapted to local specificities (knowledge of expressions, language according to the cantons, ...), being patient, humble and trusted in the field. The latter is also the key to success in Switzerland because it is a country where "networks" are highly developed and are considered important.

The country also offers the highest wages in the world for expatriates in the world. What explains this?

Firstly because the cost of living in Switzerland is among the highest in the world, but also because the number of hours worked per week is also very high compared to the world average. High wages are also due to fewer paid holidays than in other countries and relatively low employer costs in Switzerland.

Does Switzerland mainly attract young professionals looking for career development or rather families whose expectations go beyond professional goals?

Switzerland will mainly attract experienced professionals in their country of origin or abroad, so that most of them have family members whose main motivation for moving to Switzerland will be the high level of remuneration and quality of life. Infrastructure, political stability, security in Switzerland and the general environment are particularly appreciated by expatriates.

What about entrepreneurs? Is Switzerland an appropriate destination for someone who wants to start a business?

Switzerland is a mature market with a relatively demanding clientele because it is used to high quality standards and has a strong purchasing power. Switzerland therefore offers opportunities for many French companies wishing to go international, provided they are sufficiently developed on the French market, they provide a high level of service or they offer a concept / product that does not yet exist on the Swiss market.

How is the Swiss economic environment conducive to business development?

Switzerland has succeeded as one of the countries in Europe that offers the greatest economic freedom. This country, whose internal market may seem relatively small with a little more than 8 million inhabitants, and whose different cultural and linguistic regions and the non-membership of the European Union may appear complex, managed however to succeed to create this status and around 3 pillars: free competition, free trade and the protection of intellectual property. These 3 pillars provide this favorable framework for companies to set up and develop in this market.