Advice on how to find a job in Switzerland

Volvisearch has been recruiting on the Swiss market for years, and we thought we might explain how things work in Switzerland when it comes to companies hiring talent from overseas, which will lead to give some advice to candidates out there who are looking to make a move to Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, …

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but they have agreements of collaboration in place which allows European citizens to obtain a Swiss Working permit if hired by a local firm. EU and EFTA citizens can go through the recruiting process, and their application for a work permit will be done at the end. If you are not from the European Union and don’t hold EU citizenship, then we can already tell you that it will be challenging to find a job in Switzerland.

To make it simple, if a Switzerland based company decides to hire someone from the European Union, and in order to get him the Swiss B-Permit that will allow this candidate to work for them, they will have to submit a report to the Federal Government employment and immigration office, stating and explaining why they were not able to find a candidate who could have done the job who is already based in Switzerland. If they hire someone from outside the EU, they will have to explain why they could not find this professional profile in Switzerland and then in the European Union.

We often receive enquiries from people all over the world explaining to us that as much as they apply to Swiss jobs, they never get an answer. If the recruiter or HR has not done his/her job with you, then here you have your answer. Hiring a non-EU or Non-Swiss citizen is very complicated and challenging for Swiss companies. Of course exceptions happen, but it’s better to be realistic about the situation.


Do I need to speak French, German or Swiss German for a job in Switzerland?

Well although learning or speaking German will help you in the little things of life (order a nice plate of Sausages and Rusti in Zurich for example), most of the financial services firms based in Zurich have Group level. Most of your colleagues won’t be from Switzerland and your work will be in English.

In Geneva, employers such as big 4 audit and advisory firms appreciate candidates who can speak both English and French at fluent level, because working in advisory includes a sales aspect. But this shouldn’t stop you when looking for a job in Geneva. You will learn French there!


Your CV for Switzerland

In Switzerland, you will be expected to present a CV with as much details as possible about your professional experience, languages and IT Skills, but also a few personal points such as Nationality, Date of Birth, and most of the time a profile picture.

Companies are likely to ask for your certificates (Diplomas, Qualifications, …) as well as a cover letter and references. References will be for later but you have to be ready to communicate these when required.


How Volvisearch is helping workers find jobs in Switzerland?

Volvisearch is a recruitment agency in the Financial Services industry. We cover Insurance, Reinsurance, Advisory and Investment Banking.

The type of profiles we recruit are Actuary, Catastrophe Modeller, Consultant to Senior Manager in Advisory, Audit, IT, TAX, Global mobility, Risk Managers, Equity Research and Quantitative analysis or Quantitative Risk.

Visit our Job Section or contact us directly if you are looking for a job in Switzerland. We will give you a honest approach and respect full confidentialily.


Article by M. Damien Bernard, Director at Volvisearch Financial Services Recruitment

Posted on Thursday Jan 28
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