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Switzerland - Zürich

Short overview of the labour market


Zurich is the third-largest Swiss region and is regarded as the country’s economic powerhouse. Only the regions of Lake Geneva and Espace Mittelland exceed the population of the Zurich region, which in 2014 was 1 421 million people, with 176 different nationalities. The region ranks first in terms of economic importance. The canton of Zurich is characterised by a great diversity of industries. In addition to the strong financial sector, other industries have been gaining ground for years. The registered active population of the region is 966 000 people, about 230 000 of whom are foreign nationals.

The economic area of Zurich boasts a long tradition in the development and production of medical technology. In addition, over the past few decades, it has become a leading location for the life science economy and skills. Most of the 57 000 companies registered are small and medium-sized enterprises, and account for almost two thirds of the active population. As a business centre, Zurich holds a leading position internationally. As a driving force of the Swiss economy, Zurich generates almost one fifth of the national income, wealth and jobs.

Zurich is world-famous not only as a financial centre but also as a city of ambitious projects and innovative ideas. The structure of the Zurich canton's economy is essentially service-based. Business services and the banking and insurance industries play a dominant role, exceeding the national average. Around a fifth of employment in the canton is to be found in these sectors; in the city of Zurich, the proportion rises to 30 %.

With regard to business services, employment is mainly concentrated in accountancy, tax consultancy, trusts, business consultancy, architects’ and engineering practices as well as the media. Also with above-average representation are the health sector, the wholesale trade, in particular data processing equipment and machines for industry, commerce and shipping, as well as education, especially thanks to top-ranking universities (ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich).

Text last edited on: 12/2017

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