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Old 26.10.2020, 13:38
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Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

Hi all,

I have been lucky to hold onto my job (so far!) during the Coronavirus crisis, however several of my friends and acquaintances have been made redundant.

I am, of course, trying to support them as much as I can in their job search and help them stay positive, but I can't help secretly feeling a bit disheartened and worried about their situations.

I am thinking especially of 5/6 people I used to work with, expats in their mid-40s with children who have been living in Zurich with their families for 5/10 years. None of them speaks German (we all worked for an international company where English was the workplace language). None of them has one of those highly sought-after profiles, such as developer or software engineer. They have backgrounds in marketing, operations, customer support. They have now been looking for another job for 6+ months with very little success.

I would like to get an unbiased view of this type of situation, which I am sure is not too rare in Switzerland these days. Do you reckon the Swiss job market will be able to reabsorb all the workers that were let go during Coronavirus, or do you think that many will have to leave Switzerland once their RAV benefits end?
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Old 26.10.2020, 14:11
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Hi all,

I have been lucky to hold onto my job (so far!) during the Coronavirus crisis, however several of my friends and acquaintances have been made redundant.

I am, of course, trying to support them as much as I can in their job search and help them stay positive, but I can't help secretly feeling a bit disheartened and worried about their situations.

I am thinking especially of 5/6 people I used to work with, expats in their mid-40s with children who have been living in Zurich with their families for 5/10 years. None of them speaks German (we all worked for an international company where English was the workplace language). None of them has one of those highly sought-after profiles, such as developer or software engineer. They have backgrounds in marketing, operations, customer support. They have now been looking for another job for 6+ months with very little success.

I would like to get an unbiased view of this type of situation, which I am sure is not too rare in Switzerland these days. Do you reckon the Swiss job market will be able to reabsorb all the workers that were let go during Coronavirus, or do you think that many will have to leave Switzerland once their RAV benefits end?
Not at the salaries they were being paid, at 85k quite possibly.
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Old 26.10.2020, 14:24
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Hi all,

I have been lucky to hold onto my job (so far!) during the Coronavirus crisis, however several of my friends and acquaintances have been made redundant.

I am, of course, trying to support them as much as I can in their job search and help them stay positive, but I can't help secretly feeling a bit disheartened and worried about their situations.

I am thinking especially of 5/6 people I used to work with, expats in their mid-40s with children who have been living in Zurich with their families for 5/10 years. None of them speaks German (we all worked for an international company where English was the workplace language). None of them has one of those highly sought-after profiles, such as developer or software engineer. They have backgrounds in marketing, operations, customer support. They have now been looking for another job for 6+ months with very little success.

I would like to get an unbiased view of this type of situation, which I am sure is not too rare in Switzerland these days. Do you reckon the Swiss job market will be able to reabsorb all the workers that were let go during Coronavirus, or do you think that many will have to leave Switzerland once their RAV benefits end?
Knocking on wood...hope this not happens.

One of the great risks of home office is that some employers are discovering people does not need to come to office to get the job done. If it can be done from home in ZH, any manager with at least two working neurons starts to think if it can be done from other EU country with lower hourly rates.

My employer made a survey among employees and modified contracts to include home office. There's a estimate than office space can be reduced by 50% with all the employees willing to work from home most of time and having hot-desks at company HQ when needed. The employee contracts are ready, the only thing missing is the expiration of the office rental contract.

From those two things I would not be surprised for 2021. If the things above happen, I don't know what else can be tackled by them.


PS. air traffic is down and not recovering. Easyjet in Genève, Swiss in ZH, they'll have to downsize very soon.
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Old 26.10.2020, 14:32
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

Not being in possession of a crystal ball, this is only my own pessimistic outlook. So grain o' salt and all that:

Some, perhaps many, jobs are/will be gone for good.

Successful WFH showed that many more jobs can be done out of office, and given the need to cut costs everywhere post-pandemic the bean counters and C-suite will be eyeing moving more and more to lower cost locations.

("Thanks for going above and beyond to do such a great job under difficult circumstances during the pandemic - now here's your pink slip".)

The writing has been on the wall for a long time, the pandemic merely accelerated the timeline. Switzerland can't sustain high wages for jobs connected to the global economy in the long term, unless there is some unique value added to justify them. If your job does not have to be physically here you should always keep an eye open for opportunities elsewhere. Or be prepared for a new, lower wage, future.

---

Unless you are a Swiss citizen you can't count on Switzerland being your future.

We non-EU folks were brought over here only because we had skills needed that could not be obtained in the local market. That the local market might not need us one day and we would be told to leave was plain from the beginning. We non-EU folks are mere Gastarbeiter, even those with gazillion Frank packages. Past contributions to Switzerland not relevant, it's always a case of 'are you necessary tomorrow?' Putting down roots here without Swiss/EU citizenship has always been a risk. A non-EU person must always have a Plan B that does not include Switzerland in one's back pocket.

It's painful... but it is the reality we have always faced. It's just more obvious now given the severe economic contraction likely ahead.

But hey, I might be wrong. Actually, I hope I am. But my suitcases are packed, as they have been for 20+ years, just in case.
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Old 26.10.2020, 14:43
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Unless you are a Swiss citizen you can't count on Switzerland being your future.

What about Permit C holders or people married to Swiss citizens? Please consult your crystal ball again

Things would have to be terrible if C permit holders are thrown out, I am talking civil violence type of terrible
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Old 26.10.2020, 14:45
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

In all honesty, the job market for the people you have described has been rapidly outsourced to East Europe and India for some time now. Unfortunately, COVID-19 will just be an excuse for it to continue further.
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Old 26.10.2020, 14:52
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

There certainly is a shift to a realisation that some FTE sat in some expensive office space is how things need to be done. COVID will certainly have ramifications for some workers with some industries seeing that they can nearshore staff, working from home, for less.

But there are a bunch of industries built upon Swiss privacy and data protection parameters that limit the offshore access to even view some data.

Funnily enough, what I do now is not in any way related to what I was brought to Switzerland to do 25-or-so years ago. My language of daily business is English because it has to be.

So to the OPs question. There may be positions out there in those areas, certainly I don't expect the supply of positions to dry up but the volume of those looking will be higher. It's about leveraging contacts, marketing yourself and maybe even learning the language.

For what I do, I am contacted at least once a week via LinkedIn. I am not looking to move because my workload and importance of what I do has increased since March. I am actually hoping to sell myself to my employer as worth more because the cost of my FTE when I work from home is decreased.
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Old 26.10.2020, 15:01
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

The outlook for the jobhunt is terrible, companys can describe their offers
as general as they want with features nobdy can fulfill:

A purchaser is wanted with contacts to asia or china.
A purchaser is wanted with knowledge in international trade law.
A Logistic Assistant is wanted who has a passion for vegetables.


As well the job offers with the an age of 25- 35 years for a purchaser, with
around 5 years of experience (i guess) and sting.........

Al gastro express there are only around 600 job offers, at job room.ch there are 42350 job offers.Jobs .ch counts 66300 job offers

Lufthansa will go into hibernation until february with around 20 % of their planes in business ,swiss and austria will cease operation with all A 320 models.
The Lufthansa group will use the smallest aircraft possible , the staff will go to maxiumum shortage in hours.
Lufthansa Group looses 1 million Euro every 2 hours.

Last edited by blackbird; 26.10.2020 at 15:14.
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Old 26.10.2020, 15:22
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Lufthansa will go into hibernation until february with around 20 % of their planes in business ,swiss and austria will cease operation with all A 320 models.
The Lufthansa group will use the smallest aircraft possible , the staff will go to maxiumum shortage in hours.
Lufthansa Group looses 1 million Euro every 2 hours.
Blimey, what an outlook
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Old 26.10.2020, 16:10
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

Lufthansa will use 80 planes on their winter timetable, the used the same numbers in the 70 s.

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtscha...hlaf-1.5093998
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Old 26.10.2020, 17:10
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

Dear OP, Are your ex-colleagues being made redundant, or have they been offered their job back in their home country (where they migrated here from 5-10 years ago, but would prefer to stay and have not accepted a transfer?). There's a big difference.

Some folks (I did so myself 4 years ago) choose to turn down the relocation elsewhere and try and stay (in my case then I'd already become a citizen).

On the language point, if your ex-colleagues are here 5+ years, was there something that prevented them from learning German/French/Italian (assuming they don't wish to leave/they do prefer to stay).

One of the first filters your CV/cover letter will get is language-based. My German & French aren't perfect but even I passed the B1/B2 level within 5 years of coming here, consistent with my personal preferences on location).

If your ex-colleagues haven't been unemployed here for 5-10 years, they've done well: I lost my first job here within 3 years due to employer insolvency.

I can admit to that experience accelerating my language immersion: during my notice period I promptly started a private lessons course locally at my own expense, leading to a job 100kms away within 2 months of being formally unemployed. I'm convinced my initiative on German helped (I didn't wait for the RAV to send me on a course before starting myself).

Once re-employed, I continued German courses for 2 years thereafter twice a week, until I got my certificates. (once bitten twice shy)

I wish your ex-colleagues all the best. Realistically language skills are a big filter, especially right now.
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Old 26.10.2020, 17:31
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Dear OP, Are your ex-colleagues being made redundant, or have they been offered their job back in their home country (where they migrated here from 5-10 years ago, but would prefer to stay and have not accepted a transfer?). There's a big difference.

Some folks (I did so myself 4 years ago) choose to turn down the relocation elsewhere and try and stay (in my case then I'd already become a citizen).

On the language point, if your ex-colleagues are here 5+ years, was there something that prevented them from learning German/French/Italian (assuming they don't wish to leave/they do prefer to stay).

One of the first filters your CV/cover letter will get is language-based. My German & French aren't perfect but even I passed the B1/B2 level within 5 years of coming here, consistent with my personal preferences on location).

If your ex-colleagues haven't been unemployed here for 5-10 years, they've done well: I lost my first job here within 3 years due to employer insolvency.

I can admit to that experience accelerating my language immersion: during my notice period I promptly started a private lessons course locally at my own expense, leading to a job 100kms away within 2 months of being formally unemployed. I'm convinced my initiative on German helped (I didn't wait for the RAV to send me on a course before starting myself).

Once re-employed, I continued German courses for 2 years thereafter twice a week, until I got my certificates. (once bitten twice shy)

I wish your ex-colleagues all the best. Realistically language skills are a big filter, especially right now.
Thank you for your inputs. They have sadly all been made redundant, with no offer to relocate back home or similar. I agree with you that their lack of German skills is possibly the biggest obstacle to them finding work again here.
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Old 26.10.2020, 18:09
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

Almost everything I read above is also happening elsewhere, the last 5 years has been a time to evaluate what the future holds. Many people have diversified, some haven’t done anything about the changes in working life, they will be most affected and there are many new opportunities still so it’s wake up time.

I personally have changed my career 3 times in 20 years. My biggest success has been in the last 5 years here in Switzerland...
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Old 26.10.2020, 18:39
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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What about Permit C holders or people married to Swiss citizens? Please consult your crystal ball again

Things would have to be terrible if C permit holders are thrown out, I am talking civil violence type of terrible
If C permit holders don't meet the integration criteria when their permits come up for renewal they could be downgraded to a B; if they still aren't integrated enough for the Swiss when it comes time to renew the B then they could lose permit status altogether. So yes, unless you're a Swiss citizen or married to one then don't assume you can stay here indefinitely.
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Old 26.10.2020, 18:47
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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If C permit holders don't meet the integration criteria when their permits come up for renewal they could be downgraded to a B; if they still aren't integrated enough for the Swiss when it comes time to renew the B then they could lose permit status altogether. So yes, unless you're a Swiss citizen or married to one then don't assume you can stay here indefinitely.
Not if EU
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Old 26.10.2020, 19:13
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Not if EU
Wouldn't count on it. Despite Free Movement I'm not sure the Swiss wouldn't say time for you to go if you're not going to be bothered to integrate.
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Old 26.10.2020, 19:24
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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If C permit holders don't meet the integration criteria when their permits come up for renewal they could be downgraded to a B; if they still aren't integrated enough for the Swiss when it comes time to renew the B then they could lose permit status altogether. So yes, unless you're a Swiss citizen or married to one then don't assume you can stay here indefinitely.
There is no integration test at renewal. I renewed my C in 3 Kantons, one of which where I did not speak the language. No questions asked about anything.
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Wouldn't count on it. Despite Free Movement I'm not sure the Swiss wouldn't say time for you to go if you're not going to be bothered to integrate.
Since they did not end the freedom of movement agreements in September, EU citizens still have freedom of movement. There is no integration bar set. I think there is not even a language bar set for such permits, that only starts at C (and with differing asks on the language qualifications).
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Old 26.10.2020, 19:39
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Thank you for your inputs. They have sadly all been made redundant, with no offer to relocate back home or similar. I agree with you that their lack of German skills is possibly the biggest obstacle to them finding work again here.
If I'd been unemployed for six months my German would be at least a grade and probably two higher than the point I lost my job.

And hopefully the RAV would have been paying for the lessons.
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Old 26.10.2020, 21:06
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Wouldn't count on it. Despite Free Movement I'm not sure the Swiss wouldn't say time for you to go if you're not going to be bothered to integrate.
I actually have my A2 test next month (started German from an absolute beginner level this year) so I think I'm doing fine! Seriously if they tried that they'd be in clear and direct treaty breach and I'd sue the pants of them.
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Old 26.10.2020, 21:44
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Re: Covid redundacies - will the Swiss job market reabsorb the workers?

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Knocking on wood...hope this not happens.

One of the great risks of home office is that some employers are discovering people does not need to come to office to get the job done. If it can be done from home in ZH, any manager with at least two working neurons starts to think if it can be done from other EU country with lower hourly rates.

My employer made a survey among employees and modified contracts to include home office. There's a estimate than office space can be reduced by 50% with all the employees willing to work from home most of time and having hot-desks at company HQ when needed. The employee contracts are ready, the only thing missing is the expiration of the office rental contract.

From those two things I would not be surprised for 2021. If the things above happen, I don't know what else can be tackled by them.


PS. air traffic is down and not recovering. Easyjet in Genève, Swiss in ZH, they'll have to downsize very soon.
There’s a big difference between hybrid - partially remote - and fully remote in terms of management and productivity. Work is not just about the skills of the individual but also the creativity generated between individuals and teams as they work together. This spontaneous creativity is what often moves companies forward to a competitive advantage.

There will be more wfh or wfa in the future but I don’t see it quite the case that all jobs will immediately be run from Iraq for 1 USD a week. Outsourcing of work has been available for 25 years, yet it is still only implemented for lower skill more repetitive functions in the main.

Yes it’s grim right now, but as we get past this next year, the economy will want to catch up and I think demand will be present in all countries.
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