High productivity and low social security charges

An efficient system of education and vocational training has given the canton of Vaud a workforce that is numerous, well trained and in many cases multilingual (French, English and German). A large proportion of the canton’s inhabitants have benefited from higher education. The canton of Vaud also has a large pool of cross-border workers travelling in from France.

In addition, bilateral agreements have been reached allowing any citizen of the European Union (EU) or a member state of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) to work in Switzerland under special conditions. Work permits are relatively easy to obtain for expatriate specialists.

The work ethic and motivation demonstrated by Swiss employees are exceptionally high, and strikes are practically unheard of. According to a study carried out by business school IMD, Switzerland tops the league tables in terms of the annual number of hours worked (40 to 42 hours per week, ahead of all other European countries and the United States). It also boasts the highest motivation index in the world and the most flexible legal conditions for companies, guaranteeing an employer a wide degree of latitude when drawing up employment contracts.

The nominal cost of labour seems to be higher than in the rest of Europe, as it reflects the high level of value added by the Swiss economy. But when productivity levels, longer working hours and above all much lower social security charges than in other European countries are taken into account, Swiss salary levels prove to be thoroughly competitive, lower even than those encountered in Germany.

The Swiss social security and pension system is one of the most efficient and cost-effective in Europe. Social security charges are divided over three pension schemes, known as the “three pillars”, with conditions that benefit employee and employer alike.